Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2022

Thesis Advisor(s)

Letitia Naigles

Honors Major

Psychological Sciences


Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by multiple differences in functioning, with a strong correlation to perceived language deficits. Evidence suggests that during childhood, children with ASD lag behind their TD peers in terms of emotion recognition skills. However, the prior research had not pushed into adolescence in studying these phenomena. The current study seeks to fill in that gap, and look at autistic individuals in adolescence to determine whether the previous research holds up as they age, or whether there is a significant change in skills. This study is a part of a longitudinal study on language acquisition in autistic individuals, which follows participants from early in childhood through adolescence and young adulthood. The current study looks at 26 participants (TD and ASD), each of whom were visited on two separate occasions, approximately two weeks apart, in order to collect data. Part of the data collected was for the emotion recognition portion of the study, and was examining in particular the use of gradable adjectives and perspective-taking. The results indicate that these participants have caught up to their TD peers. Findings are discussed in terms of increasing understanding of language acquisition in autistic individuals, particularly as they age.