Welcome to the Prosody and Autism Spectrum Disorders pages at Queen Margaret University. Here you will find information about our two main projects addressing prosody in ASDs; the Prosody in Autism and the Prosody in Asperger's projects. You will also find information about our unique way of assessing prosody, PEPS-C.

Website last updated 26 April 2007

Click here for our Prosody in Autism results page

Click here for our Prosody in Asperger's Syndrome results page

Click here for our guidelines on minimising the affects of prosodic disorder.

What is Prosody?
Essentially prosody is ‘not what you say but how you say it’. It includes aspects such as intonation and tone of voice. In other words, prosody is the suprasegmental aspects of speech including variations in pitch/fundamental frequency, loudness/intensity, duration, pause/silence, intonation, rate, stress and rhythm.

Prosody can be disordered in various communication impairments such as autism, dysarthria (for example in individuals who have experienced a stroke) and hearing impairment.

What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), or Pervasive Developmental disorders (PDD) are a family of disorders characterised by difficulties in communication, socialisation and imagination. Individuals with ASD vary from the lower end of the spectrum where individuals may be non-verbal to the higher end of the spectrum where individuals may have normal intelligence and language skills. At the higher end of the spectrum are two closely related conditions, High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). People with HFA have normal non-verbal ability but a pre-school language delay whereas people with AS have no language delay pre-school.

As part of the communication impairment, many people with ASD have disordered expressive prosody which means they may sound different from their peers, adding an additional barrier to social integration. They may also have difficulty understanding another person's prosody.

Other ASDs include Rett’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), sometimes known as atypical autism.

Useful Links for more Information on Autism:
The National Centre for Autism Studies
The Scottish Society for Autism

The Autism Society of America

Useful Links for more Information on Prosody:

[home] [PEPS-C] [autism] [asperger's] [theory of mind] [publications] [contact]

Prosody and Autism Spectrum Disorders.


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