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Brain Sci. 2017, 7(7), 85; doi:10.3390/brainsci7070085

Sensory and Physico-Psychological Metaphor Comprehension in Children with ASD: A Preliminary Study on the Outcomes of a Treatment

1
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Rome, Italy
2
Faculty of Psychology, “Niccolò Cusano” Telematic University - Rome, Via Don Carlo Gnocchi, 3, 00166 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Etio-Pathology to Treatment)
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Abstract

Recent research into difficulties in figurative language in children with ASD highlighted that it is possible to devise training interventions to overcome these difficulties by teaching specific strategies. This study describes how children with ASD can improve their capability to explain metaphors with a treatment. Two types of metaphors, in the “X is Y” form, were addressed: sensory and physico-psychological. To face the difficulties posed by these metaphors, the adult taught two strategies: inserting the connective “is like” between “X” and “Y”, which transforms the metaphor into a simile; comparing “X” and “Y” by means of thinking maps. Two tests of metaphor comprehension were used, one based on sensory and the other on physico-psychological metaphors. Sixteen 10 year-old children participated into the study, including an experimental group formed by 8 children with ASD (n = 4) which had received the treatment, and a control group (n = 4) which had not, and 8 typically-developing (TD) children. At the post-test, the experimental group significantly outperformed the controls in explaining both types of metaphors, but only in the sensory metaphors did their performances reach TD children’s levels. These results illuminate how clinical treatment can positively influence the developmental trajectories of metaphor comprehension. View Full-Text
Keywords: children with ASD; metaphor comprehension; sensory and physico-psychological; treatment; assessment children with ASD; metaphor comprehension; sensory and physico-psychological; treatment; assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Melogno, S.; Pinto, M.A.; Di Filippo, G. Sensory and Physico-Psychological Metaphor Comprehension in Children with ASD: A Preliminary Study on the Outcomes of a Treatment. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 85.

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