Frequency, Form, and Function of Dyadic Questions in Children With Autism: A CHILDES Corpus Study

Rhiannon Luyster, Isabella Leiwant, Sudha Arunachalam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children’s questions to their caregivers—and caregivers’ questions to their children—play an important role in child development. For children on the autism spectrum, who often experience cognitive, linguistic, and social difficulties, prior research on questions has resulted in inconsistent and incomplete findings. This study characterized the frequency, form, and function of queries posed by children on the autism spectrum (n = 12), non-spectrum peers (n = 20), and parents, using the Nadig ASD English Corpus in the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES). Results suggested that children on the autism spectrum and their caregivers produced fewer questions than non-spectrum dyads; however, whereas wh-questions were underrepresented in the repertoire of children on the spectrum, they were overrepresented in the repertoire of their parents. Finally, question function was similarly diverse for parents and children across groups. These findings offer important clinical implications for question-asking interventions targeting this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalCommunication Disorders Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023


  • autism
  • caregiver
  • language
  • parent
  • questions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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