The constructionist approach argues that communication is central to language learning, language use, and language change. We argue that the approach provides a useful perspective on how autistic children learn language, as it anticipates variable outcomes and suggests testable predictions. First, a reduced ability and interest in tracking the attention and intentions of others should negatively impact early language development, and a wealth of evidence indicates that it does. Secondly, and less discussed until recently, a hyper-focus on specifics at the expense of generalizations, common among people on the spectrum, should also negatively impact language development, and recent evidence suggests this is also the case.
Floyd, S., Jeppsen, C., & Goldberg, A. E. (2021). Brief report: Children on the autism spectrum are challenged by complex word meanings. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(7), 2543-2549. [link]
Goldberg, A. E., & Abbot-Smith, K. (2021). The constructionist approach offers a useful lens on language learning in autistic individuals. Language, 97(3), e169-e183.[link]