Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Effects of delay on episodic memory retrieval by children with autism spectrum disorder

Abstract Twenty‐seven 6‐ to 15‐year‐old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 32 typically developing (TD) children were questioned about their participation in a set of activities after a 2‐week delay and again after a 2‐month delay using a best practice interview protocol. Interviews were coded for completeness with respect to the gist of the event, the number of narrative details provided, and accuracy. Results indicated that children with ASD did not differ from TD peers on any dimensions of memory after both delays. Specifically, both groups of children provided equivalently complete accounts on both occasions. However, children in both groups provided significantly fewer narrative details about the event in the second interview, and the accuracy rates were lower. The findings indicate that, like TD children, children with ASD can provide meaningful and reliable testimony about an event they personally experienced, but several aspects of their memory reports deteriorate over time.

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