Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education


Sandra Gillam


Ronald Gillam


Cindy Jones


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a narrative program designed to increase narrative language proficiency was associated with improved syntactic complexity for 5, school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Method: A multiple-baseline across participants design was employed. Children participated in a narrative intervention for 45 minutes, twice weekly for a period of time ranging from 19 to 33 sessions. Spontaneously generated narratives were collected after every other intervention session and analyzed for narrative and syntactic complexity.

Results: Results indicated that during baseline, three of the student’s spontaneous stories contained syntactically complex utterances that were comparable to those expected for children at their chronological age. Two of the students used syntactically complex utterances that were well below that of their chronological age peers. The syntactic complexity of spontaneously generated narratives produced by participants as they participated in narrative intervention was measured. Students varied in their syntactic performance across time points.

Discussion: Most of the students improved on narrative discourse skills and in their use of syntactically complex utterances over the course of the study. The implications for clinicians working with verbal children with ASD are discussed.

Available for download on Monday, May 01, 2023