This study investigates the ability of Mandarin-speaking children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to use mental state terms in narratives. The narrative data are from 16 children with ASD and 16 typically developing children, matched on language and cognitive abilities. The narratives were elicited using Frog, where are you? Participants' use of lexical expressions referring to emotion, cognition, desire and perception was examined. The 'deer episode' of the story was chosen to analyse children's ability to talk about misrepresentation. The results reveal that the two groups of children performed comparably in basic narrative measures, overall use of mental state terms and references to the misrepresentation. The outcomes underscore the importance of examining different types of mental state terms separately. These findings are discussed in relation to linguistic and cognitive factors in mental-state attribution.
Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, Vol.31, No.2, pp.1-18