Date of Award

Fall 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Stephen Calculator


Diagnosis of children within the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) category varies significantly but children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are typically diagnosed at a much older age than those with Autism (AD). The late childhood diagnosis of AS means a possible lapse in years that the child receives appropriate intervention and support. The purpose of this retrospective study was to gain further insight into what early communication and behavior characteristics can be identified in children from birth to three years who are later diagnosed with AS.

Parents of ten children with AS and under nineteen-years old were identified to participate in the study. The subjects' parents answered The Rossetti Parent Questionnaire and participated in face-to-face, open ended question interviews regarding their children from birth to age three. Parents were encouraged to share early memories about their child's communication and behavior.

The results of this investigation indicate that evaluating behavioral and communication characteristics of infants and toddlers may constitute a viable screening tool for AS. In particular, assessment of communication characteristics, (e.g., speech and language development, interaction/communication and comprehension/understanding) as well as behavioral characteristics, (e.g., anxiety/energy levels, sensory issues, transitions, and fine/gross motor skills) are important areas to evaluate. Earlier screening tools could result in earlier diagnosis and the provision of needed appropriate services at a far earlier age than has typically been the case for children with Asperger Syndrome.