Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Seyda Ozcaliskan

Second Advisor

Amy Lederberg

Third Advisor

Rose Sevcik


Young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) differ from typically developing (TD) children in their overall production of gesture, producing fewer deictic gestures and supplemental gesture-speech combinations. In this study, we ask whether older children with ASD continue to differ from TD children in the types of gestures and gesture-speech combinations they produce, and whether this reflects differences in parental gesture input. Our study examined the gestures and speech produced by 42 children (20 ASD, 22 TD), comparable in expressive vocabulary, and their parents, and showed that children with ASD were similar to TD children in the amount and types of gestures that they produced, but differed in their gesture-speech combinations, using gesture primarily to complement their speech. Parents, however, did not show the same group differences in their gesture-speech combinations, suggesting that differences observed in children’s gesture use may not reflect parental input, but rather the child’s communicative needs.