Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Marie Coppola and Matthew Goodwin

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Research on tense development has found that typically developing (TD) children are productive with tense morphology starting between two to two-and-a-half years old. Research findings on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), however, have been mixed. To better understand how tense development may differ between TD children and children with ASD, we examined the speech of two children, one TD [Cleo] and one that previously presented symptoms of ASD [Audrey]. This study is novel in its use of the Speechome Recorder, which collects dense audio-video recordings of children’s speech in home environments. We found that both children were productive with present and past tense markers. Audrey, however, produced a future form, “I’m a verb,” at a much higher frequency compared to Cleo. Further analyses of Audrey’s production found that this frame may be a variant of “going to verb,” but reasons for its use while having access to a more canonical form are still unclear. Second, as Adolph et al. (2008) have demonstrated that developmental trajectories of motor skills can be misrepresented with large sampling intervals, a second set of analyses were conducted investigating whether similar sampling effects could be found in language development. Misrepresentations of developmental trajectories began to emerge when the sampling interval increased from daily to weekly sampling. Taken together we were able to demonstrate that a) children with past symptoms of ASD can be comparable to TD children in their tense productivity, and b) dense sampling is needed in order to accurately capture developmental change.

Major Advisor

Letitia R. Naigles