We investigated production of lexical stress in children with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD), all monolingual Italian speakers. The mean age of the 16 autistic children was 5.73 years and the mean age of the 16 typically developing children was 4.65 years. Picture-naming targets were five trisyllabic words that began with a weak-strong pattern of lexical stress across the initial two syllables (WS: matita) and five trisyllabic words beginning with a strong-weak pattern (SW: gomito). Acoustic measures of the duration, fundamental frequency, and intensity of the first two vowels for correct word productions were used to calculate a normalised Pairwise Variability Index (PVI) for WS and SW words. Results of acoustic analyses indicated no statistically significant group differences in PVIs. Results should be interpreted in line with the exploratory nature of this study. We hope this study will encourage additional cross-linguistic studies of prosody in children's speech production.
- acoustic analysis
- lexical stress