Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Lee, Janie

Major or Concentration



This study uses a one-subject, in-depth analysis model to investigate how a 13-year-old child with autism communicates, using the analytical lens of discourse analysis. Using data from five 20-40 minute-long recordings of natural speech, the research subject's use of language in unique or unexpected ways came to be understood as a systematic, consistent, and rich idiolect. These findings challenge pervasive prejudices about individuals with autism and indicate that the most interesting aspects of autistic speech are overlooked by neurotypical listeners. They also demonstrate the importance of discourse analysis as a method for studying autism and language.

Included in

Linguistics Commons