Anns, S. (2016). The role of declarative memory in the acquisition of conceptual semantic knowledge in Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)
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Based on Ullman’s (2004) hypothesis that declarative memory impairment will contribute to language impairment, this thesis presents two experiments that test familiarity and recollection in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disability (ID). Four experimental groups comprised children and adolescents with ASD with language impairment (ALI); ASD without language impairment (ALN), intellectually disabled children without ASD (ID) and typically developing children (TD). Children were tested on two forced choice recognition tests of familiarity and recollection and a shape recognition and cued action-recall test. The relation between familiarity and conceptual semantic knowledge was investigated whilst controlling for visuo-perceptual abilities and fluid intelligence. Findings confirmed an association between familiarity and conceptual semantic knowledge in the ASD population as well as the use of visuo-perceptual skills to enhance familiarity. The broader role of declarative memory in language is addressed in ASD. Implications for future methods of testing in ASD populations are considered, as are implications of declarative memory anomalies in both ASD and ID populations in educational settings.
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