Hc1 2009--2010: Assessed Assignment 2


literature review/essay

Identify the communication phenomena exhibited by children on the autistic spectrum and evaluate theories that attempt to explain these phenomena

issued on Thursday 11 February, due back 12 noon, Monday 1 March.

One way to better understand human communication is to see where it breaks down. A particular example of this is the communication phenomena associated with the verbal and non-verbal behaviour of non-typically developing children, such as those on the autism spectrum. Your task is to present a clear picture of the communication phenomena that distinguish a child on the autism spectrum from a typical developing child, to review the key theories that  attempt to provide an explanation for these phenomena, and evaluate them with respect to how well they explain these phenomena. The questions that you should address through reviewing the relevant literature are:

What are the communication phenomena that distinguish a child on the autism spectrum from a typical developing child? Illustrate your answer with specific examples of verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

2. Describe each of the key theories that attempt to provide an explanation for these phenomena, firstly providing an overview of each theory and the phenomena it accounts for. Again, provide concrete examples throughout. These key theories are:

  1. Theory of Mind
  2. Central Coherence
  3. Executive Functioning
  4. Intersubjectivity

3. Evaluate these theories in relation to what communication phenomena they account for (for fail to account for), and compare them.

In addressing these, consider what has been presented and discussed in relevant tutorials:

  1. Research the previous research carried out, as presented in published literature, that is relevant to this topic. Use the methods discussed in the tutorial to access this. Here are some notes from tutorial 4.

  2. From the relevant sources that you identity, extract significant information, and make notes. Be sure to note also the source of the material so that you can cite it in any points made. If you say something like: "Theory of Mind argues that ...." then also cite the source of this, usually at the end of the claim that you are making, e.g. "Theory of Mind hypotheses that ....  (Baron-Cohen, Leslie,  and Frith, 1985)."

  3. Integrate your notes in a coherent review about the communication phenomena that distinguish a child on the Autistic spectrum from a typical developing child, and the theories that try to explain these.

  4. Cite all literature sources in your review at the appropriate point. DO NOT simply add a list of things you have read at the end.
    -     Only those references that you cite in support of statements that you make should appear, both as citations in the text, and as a list of references at the end of the text.
    -    Cite author name(s) and year in the text, do not just give numbers. Imagine you are reading the review - do you want to have to jump to the end every time previous research is cited to see who did it?

  5. Put the list of references cited at the end, ordered alphabetically by author.
    -    Any papers available on the web should be cited fully by their original published source. The reason for this is that if we know that something has been published in a reputable journal or a book, we can be more confident of its quality and reliability as it will have been reviewed, as compared to simple subjective statements of opinion.
    -    Any webpages you do cite (e.g. a relevant society's webpage) should also have the date it was accessed.

Your review should be around 2,000 to 3,000 words - that is about 4 to 6 typed pages, plus the reference list.

Assessments should be submitted to the Informatics Teaching Office (ITO) in Appleton Tower, Room 4.02, Level 4. You must submit a single typed copy of each assignment---please make sure you staple the pages together.
    Please make sure that the assignments are clearly marked with your full name, matriculation number, the course title, your tutorial group, and the             assignment number.

Please note the policy on late assignments.

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