Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Kenn Apel


Linguistic awareness is the ability to consciously consider and manipulate language. Multiple linguistic awareness skills relate to and predict the word-level reading, spelling, and reading comprehension skills of children who are developing typically and those with language impairments. However, few researchers have investigated the literacy skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and even fewer have investigated their linguistic awareness skills. This is problematic given the large number of children with ASD who are educated in the public schools and the importance of literacy skills for life success. Therefore, this dissertation aimed to begin to close the gap in our knowledge concerning the literacy and linguistic awareness skills of these children. Chapter One of the dissertation summarizes the state-of-knowledge of the literacy skills of children with ASD which suggests that, like children without ASD, children with ASD who have better spoken language skills tend to have better literacy skills than their counterparts with poorer language skills. Chapter One also highlights areas for further inquiry, setting the stage for Chapter Two which experimentally investigated the linguistic awareness and literacy skills of elementary school-age children with ASD. Twenty-seven children with ASD and forty children who were typicallydeveloping completed measures assessing their phonological awareness, prosodic awareness, orthographic awareness, and morphological awareness. There were moderate-to-strong relations between the linguistic awareness skills and word-level reading, spelling, and reading comprehension for the children with ASD.

Available for download on Sunday, August 14, 2022

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