This grant provides support for an NIH Autism Center of Excellence (ACE). Studies of children and adults with ASD have shown that they process sensory information in atypical ways, though all prior research has focused on verbal individuals with ASD. In this project the hypothesis that minimally verbal children and adolescents with ASD cannot organize the auditory environment into meaningful units or objects will be explored. This may account for their profound deficits in spoken language ability. As suggested from other research, these atypical perceptual patterns may arise from abnormalities in anatomical and functional neural connectivity, which affects how neural regions interact during speech perception and production. Auditory processing and neural oscillations in three groups of 25 adolescents aged 14-17 with ASD, and varying in language level (minimally verbal, verbal but language impaired, and normal language) will be characterized using event-related potentials (ERP) and electroencephalography (EEG). ln addition, the ability for neural measures of auditory perception and neural oscillation patterns to predict response to a novel intervention for minimally verbal children will be assessed (tested in another project conducted by this ACE Center: 1P50DC013027-01, Sub-Project ID: 6023), as well as whether these measures show changes as a measure of intervention success. Together, the studies to be conducted in this project will advance understanding of the mechanisms that underlie language variation in ASD and may provide an explanation for why some children fail to acquire spoken language.