ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Effect of Prosodic Emphasis on the Processing of Joint-Attention Cues in Children with ASD

Kiwako Ito, Elizabeth Kryszak, Teresa Ibanez

Prosodic emphasis affects referential processing in children, yet its effects on non-immediate discourse representation is not well understood. Using a collaborative object search task, we elicited responses to the actor’s speech as well as to later jointattention cues from toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD responded to “Where is X?” (with or without an emphasis on X) more slowly and weakly as compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. Although this seems to reinforce the view that children with ASD are insensitive to prosodic emphasis, their responses to the jointattention cues revealed otherwise hidden effects of emphasis on referential representation. During the sequential joint-attention cues (head-turn, pointing and reaching), children with ASD shifted their gazes from the actor’s face to the object more swiftly when the object was previously mentioned with emphasis than without. Interestingly, the timing of the gaze shift was also much earlier than TD children. Taken together, the present data suggest that although young children with ASD may not be able to process the prosodic emphasis rapidly, they are sensitive to the prominence and make use of it to represent referential salience, which can facilitate the communication later in the discourse.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-23

Cite as: Ito, K., Kryszak, E., Ibanez, T. (2022) Effect of Prosodic Emphasis on the Processing of Joint-Attention Cues in Children with ASD. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 110-114, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-23

@inproceedings{ito22_speechprosody,
  author={Kiwako Ito and Elizabeth Kryszak and Teresa Ibanez},
  title={{Effect of Prosodic Emphasis on the Processing of Joint-Attention Cues in Children with ASD}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={110--114},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-23}
}