Conversations with individuals with ASD: effect of relationship, contact regularity, and age on partner perceptions

Cheong Ying Sng*, Mark Carter, Jennifer Stephenson, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have difficulties with pragmatic behaviors in conversation such as staying on topic, taking the perspective of others, and repairing misunderstandings. Many social skill interventions teach conversation skills to assist the development of friendships and avoid social isolation, but few studies have examined whether conversation partners find the reported pragmatic behaviors problematic. We examined the effect of relationship type, regularity of contact, and age of the person with ASD on conversation partner perceptions. For problem scores, multiple regressions indicated an effect for relationship type such that friends tended to report lower problem scores than siblings/other relatives, parents, or life partners. Difficulties understanding humor was reported to be more problematic by friends, whereas for life partners it was the failure to keep conversations going and inappropriate terminations. Further research is needed to confirm and extend these results to better inform interventions into social communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalFocus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
Early online date4 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • social-communicative
  • socialization
  • social interaction
  • communication
  • social
  • skills


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