A preliminary investigation of parent-reported fiction versus non-fiction book preferences of school-age children with autism spectrum disorder
Davidson, Meghan M.
Weismer, Susan Ellis
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
Copyright The Author(s) 2018
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Background & aims Anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder prefer non-fiction books over fiction books. The current study was the first to investigate parent-reports of children with autism spectrum disorder’s fiction and non-fiction book preferences and whether these relate to individual differences in social communication, oral language, and/or reading abilities.Method Children (ages 8–14 years, M = 10.89, SD = 1.17) with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses (n = 19) and typically developing peers (n = 21) participated. Children completed standardized measures of social communication, oral language, and reading abilities. Parents reported children’s current favorite book, and from these responses, we coded children’s fiction versus non-fiction book preferences.Main contribution Contrary to anecdotal evidence, children with autism spectrum disorder preferred fiction similar to their typically developing peers. Fiction versus non-fiction book preference was significantly related to social communication abilities across both groups. Children’s oral language and reading abilities were related, as expected, but the evidence for a relationship between social communication and reading comprehension was mixed.Conclusions This study provides preliminary evidence supporting the association of social communication in fiction versus non-fiction book preference, which may be related to children’s comprehension and support the theoretical role of social communication knowledge in narrative/fiction.Implications It should not be assumed that all children with autism spectrum disorder prefer expository/non-fiction or do not read narrative/fiction. Children who prefer non-fiction may need additional social communication knowledge support to improve their understanding of narrative fiction.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Davidson, M. M., & Ellis Weismer, S. (2018). A Preliminary Investigation of Parent-reported Fiction versus Non-fiction Book Preferences of School-Age Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism & developmental language impairments, 3, 10.1177/2396941518806109. doi:10.1177/2396941518806109
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