We explored whether children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn new nouns from overheard speech. Thirteen children (4–5 years) with ASD participated in an Addressed condition, in which they were directly taught a novel label (e.g., toma) for one of three novel objects, and an Overheard condition, in which the objects and label were presented in a conversation between two adults. In both conditions, children were then asked to identify the labeled object (e.g., “find the toma”). Children selected the target novel object at rates above chance in the Addressed condition, and of critical importance, they also did so in the Overheard condition. This suggests that, like TD children, children with ASD may learn from language that is not directed to them.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Word learning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology