Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Language learning in autism  

Dr. Ullman and his colleagues propose that grammar difficulties experienced by children with autism stem from deficits in one of two kinds of memory. Declarative memory, which stores information about facts and events, is used to memorize words and information about those words. Procedural memory, which acquires rules and sequences, is crucial for combining words into complex sequences using grammatical rules. The researchers hypothesize that children with autism have impaired procedural memory, making it difficult for them to learn grammatical rules. However, the children may compensate for this impairment using declarative memory, which may often be relatively unaffected by autism. The researchers plan to construct artificial grammars of syllables, which pilot testing has shown can be learned over the course of a few minutes, allowing the researchers to examine the actual process of grammar acquisition. The researchers will expose children with autism and age-matched healthy controls to syllable strings generated by the grammars. They will then examine how much grammatical knowledge the children have learned and whether the children actually learn the rules or simply memorize specific sets of syllables. Project Status


Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $149,545.00
Project Number 93453
Principal Investigator Ullman, Michael
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 1: When Should I Be Concerned? (Diagnosis)
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 1LC. Identify and develop measures to assess at least three "continuous dimensions" (i.e., social reciprocity, communication disorders, and repetitive/restrictive behaviors) of ASD symptoms and severity that can be used by practitioners and/or families to assess response to intervention for people with ASD across the lifespan by 2016. IACC Recommended Budget: $18,500,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Georgetown University
State/Country District of Columbia
Web Link 1 Language learning in autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Language learning in autism | $191,584.35 | 2010 | 93453
Language learning in autism | $112,158.75 | 2008 | Project number unavailable
Language learning in autism | $31,500.00 | 2011 | 93453
Language learning in autism | $0.00 | 2012 | 93453