Language and communication features of childhood-onset schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders: a literature review
Schizophrenia (SZ) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) both have life-long and negative impacts on the individuals. In contrast to ASD, SZ occurs “rarely” in childhood (before the age of 13) which is called Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia (COS). Although COS and ASD have distinct pathologies, they exhibit common characteristics since they were described first. One of the most important commonalities is overlapping language and communication features. Till now, it is known that there is no integrative model related to the mutual language characteristics and underlying neurogenetic factors covering both of these disorders. Therefore, this literature review aimed to reveal previous research reporting both diverging and converging language issues with regards to these populations. The information presented in this review also aimed to help special education professionals about noticing the children who might present the features of COS. For this aim, firstly, the historical backgrounds of the disorders were given. Later, the language and communication features of COS and ASD including the overlapping characteristics were presented in light of previous research. Discussion: Studies showed that pragmatic limitations could be observed within both populations. Atypical language characteristics such as echolalia and self-talk could also be mutually observed. A need for future studies exploring the morphological and semantic levels of COS and ASD was emphasized. Furthermore, it was proposed that retrospective and prospective studies could be designed with a large sample. The connection between language and pretend play or executive functions could be examined.