The question of the study
The authors of the “Memory, Learning and Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder” study, Jill Boucher and Sophie Anns, addressed the issue of memory in the context of people with an autism spectrum disorder. More specifically, the central topic is discussed in its relation to the learning ability of such students. The study attempts to answer its research question of how memory systems and language are connected in the case of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). More specifically, the authors explore an alternative model that engages this principle to enhance the teaching procedures for people with ASD.
The theory and terminology introduced in the study
First of all, the authors of the present study provide a critique of an older theory of dual-systems language acquisition. While it has its strengths, Boucher and Anns provide an alternative approach to linguistic learning among people with ASD (1). Specifically, the proposed theory relies on semantic and procedural memory functions to compensate for impaired episodic memory and perceptual learning. Furthermore, the impaired implicit learning theory is deemed unsustainable within the article under review. In this regard, a differentiated four-system model is proposed for the enhanced learning of people with ASD.
The methodology of the study
The methodology of the present study comprises two major parts. The first stage relies on the critique of the two-system model used by Ullman. Boucher and Anns explore this approach at length, emphasizing its strong points while correctly identifying room for improvement (2). In the second part, the authors synthesize the contemporary body of knowledge, suggesting that an extended four-system model of language acquisition has a better level of applicability for people with ASD.
The findings of the sudy
As per the findings presented in this article, the proposed four-systems model exhibits a high degree of feasibility and applicability in the contemporary learning environment. The extension of the traditional two-system paradigm appears necessary to further differentiate the approach to working with ASD children. The see-saw effect implies that the perceptual learning impairments can be counteracted by the engagement of procedural and semantic memory. This model engages the intact cognitive abilities of students with ASD, dwelling on their strengths and mitigating the impact of their weaknesses. Through this differentiated approach, children show a quicker pace of language acquisition, mastering grammatic and semantic skills at the levels closer to their non-ASD peers.
The importance of the study
This study introduces a new perspective on the learning principles for people with ASD. Experts engaged in such teaching procedures will benefit from more developed practices that address this cognitive condition in all its complexity. Boucher and Anns emphasize the fact that “clinically significant language impairments in autism spectrum disorder are under-researched” (1). This tendency persists across various contexts, despite the profound impact of ASD on the daily lives and education of these people. Thus, a serious research gap is observed and addressed by the authors. The lack of evidence-based information regarding people with ASD prevents teachers and society, in general, from providing them with adequate opportunities. This research makes a meaningful attempt to amend the situation and enables insight into the promising avenues of learning with ASD.
Limitations and implications of the study
The novelty of the study is directly related to its primary limitation. More specifically, the research introduces the four-systems model per se as a new theoretical framework. While this paradigm in its current state can serve as a reference point for educators, it requires further examination to become the new standard. A series of empirical research will enable evidence-based answers to the questions regarding the actual effectiveness of this framework. In addition, the authors acknowledge the necessity of extended theoretical research regarding the connection between memory systems and language acquisition in people with ASD.
Boucher, Jill and Sophie Anns. “Memory, Learning and Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder”. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments, vol. 3, 2018, pp. 1-13. Web.