Document Type



Master of Speech Language Pathology (MSSLP)


Speech-Language Pathology

First Advisor's Name

Ana C. Gouvea

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Eliane Ramos

Third Advisor's Name

Monica Hough


Vocabulary Comprehension, Autism, Eye-Tracker, Speech-Language Pathology, Language Development, Semantics, ROWPVT

Date of Defense



An open question in autism research is how to assess language abilities in this population. We investigated language development in monolingual and bilingual children with varying degrees of autism, ages 3 to 9, with the aim of better understanding vocabulary comprehension. Two different methodologies were used: the Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test (ROWPVT) and eye-tracker technique.

We examined whether the eye-tracker could help in the assessment of these children because it does not require the child to point during the test. Four typically developing control children, 14 monolingual English children with moderate/mild autism, and 4 children (2 monolingual English, 2 bilingual Spanish/English) with severe autism were tested and the results of the ROWPVT test were compared to the eye-tracker results. Interestingly, bilingual children with severe autism had better results using eye-tracker than the traditional ROWPVT test. These results suggest that these children know more vocabulary than traditional test measures indicate.





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