This study investigated how children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) make social judgments of social situations and provide justifications for their responses. Fifteen children with ASD and 15 typically developing children (ages from 9 to 13 years old) were presented with eight vignettes, based on the Dewey Story Test (Dewey, 1991) and developed for the purposes of this study. The participants rated the appropriateness (on a 4-point Likert scale) of the socially inappropriate event (test item) and non-social appropriate event (control item) in each vignette. Justifications for each rating were also elicited at the end of each vignette. The children with ASD rated socially inappropriate behaviors in vignettes no differently from their typically developing peers but rated control items as stranger. They also had a higher tendency to provide inappropriate/bizarre and don't know/no response justifications instead of appropriate/social justifications (that reflect social awareness). The impact of the method of eliciting social judgments of social situations and its impact on findings are discussed.
- autism spectrum disorders
- Dewey Story Test
- qualitative justifications
- understanding social situations