Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Anne H. Charity Hudley

Committee Members

Janice Zeman

Erin Good Ament


The aim of the current research design is to start to develop an understanding of how autism spectrum disorder affects the ability to acquire social language variation. To narrow the scope, the population selected for this design is African American children with autism, allowing me to focus on a specific variety of English (African American English). In the research design, I consider four factors that could influence how each individual child on the autism spectrum acquires social language variation: 1) level of social interaction, 2) production of autistic speech, 3) ability to joint attend, and 4) ability to attend to speech sounds. The design includes collection of speech samples of an African American triad (mother, child with autism, and sibling) and an African American dyad (mother and child with autism). Matched guise testing targeted special education teachers, student teachers, and experts. The matched guise survey included samples of speech from the members of the triad and dyad and it simply asked the listeners to identify the racial or ethnic background of the speaker. From the phonological analysis for both cases, there was interspeaker variation between the mother, child with autism, and the sibling of the triad case and between the mother and child of the dyad case. This research design provides a framework for future design with the same aim. When speech pathologists understand social language variation acquisition for typically developing individuals and individuals with autism and other developmental disorders, they will be able to provide more comprehensive intervention that will have sociolinguistic and psychological implications.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only