Current Issue

Autism and Language Research

Taylor Huntley, a graduate student at Louisiana State University, aimed to do something different when it came to her thesis, choosing to focus on autism language research priorities regarding autistic children. Why you may ask? Well, for Taylor, she’s expressed that “There has been a recent movement in the autism community revolving around “nothing about us without us,” raising awareness on involving the autistic community in the research being conducted other than being a research subject. If we aren’t asking the population that we’re trying to serve or the key stakeholders what they think is best for them, then what is the true purpose of researching?” 

She has done this by actively involving the autistic community through her survey. This questionnaire takes 5-10 minutes to fill out and asks parents of autistic children their thoughts of what should be researched in autism language research. Taylor adds, “Participants will be asked to rank a variety of different language research topics on a scale from 0-100, some demographic questions, some questions about their child’s language abilities, and if they would like to tell us anything else. Participants will also have an option to participate in a 10-15 minute zoom call if they would like to expand on their answers in the survey. This is a space for parents to freely express what they think is important and we hope to analyze this to determine what are the most important topics to be researched and if there are any trends!”

Taylor’s goal behind her research is to raise awareness for the autistic community while giving them a say in what gets researched, truly embracing the “nothing about us without us” movement. From this, she has learned “Parents really do want what’s best for their children! It’s amazing to see the parents’ love and dedication that they have for their children and how they want to base their priorities on their child’s current needs.” 

Taylor hopes to continue with her research even more by expanding her survey with plans to present her research at this year’s ASHA convention (The American Speech-Language Hearing Association) which is the nation’s leading professional, credentialing, and scientific organization for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech/language/hearing scientists! 

If you are interested and would like to participate in this survey, click here!

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