Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) adopt less efficient strategies than typically developing (TD) peers on the Twenty Questions Task (TQT), a measure of verbal problem-solving skills. Although problems with the TQT are typically associated with executive dysfunction, they have also been reported in children who are deaf, suggesting a role for atypical language development. To test the contribution of language history to ASD problem solving, TQT performance was compared in children with high-functioning autism (HFA), children with Asperger syndrome (AS) and TD children. The HFA group used significantly less efficient strategies than both AS and TD children. No group differences were evident on tests of question understanding, planning or verbal fluency. Potential explanations for differences in verbal problem-solving skill are discussed with reference to the development of inner speech and use of visual strategies in ASD.
Alderson-Day, B. (2014). Verbal Problem-Solving Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Atypical Language Development. Autism Research, 7(6), 720-730. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1424