Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences


Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Dr. Nickola W. Nelson

Second Advisor

Shirley Sparks

Third Advisor

Dr. Frances Lohr

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This was a study of language comprehension abilities of autistic children who were between 6 and 12 years of age. The 22 subjects were assigned to either a middle functioning (N=14) or high functioning (N=8) group, based primarily on I.Q. scores. The subjects in the two groups each heard four sets of ten sentences divided into two levels of difficulty at four, electronically controlled speaking rates (McCroskey, 1984).

Results of multifactor ANOVA (Winer, 1971) showed language comprehension to be affected by functioning group, sentence difficulty and interactions of sentence difficulty with speaking rate. Speaking rate had an effect on language comprehension with the high functioning group, but not the middle functioning group. Correlation analysis showed trends for more correct responses to be associated with increased response latency for the high functioning group, but with decreased latency for the middle functioning group. Implications regarding variations in processing mode are considered.