The spontaneous narrative-discourse performance of parents of autistic individuals was compared to controls. The narratives of autism parents were similar in length to controls' narratives but were less complex and less coherent. A subgroup of autism parents produced either skeletal or rambling narratives that were not characterized by the type of simplifications that are reported to facilitate comprehension in very young or language-impaired children. The narrative-discourse deficits of this subgroup appeared to be consistent with the hypothesis of a genetic liability for autism that expresses in milder forms and may include impaired language abilities.
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