The academic achievement of students with high-functioning (i.e., bright) Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) is a largely unexamined area of development. While previous research has demonstrated individuals with HFASD have extremely variable performance on global measures of academic achievement, ranging from severely impaired to exceptional, there is little research that has attempted to describe their strengths and weaknesses in a given academic domain or how a diagnosis of autism may impact learning. To address these gaps, the overall aim of my research program examines two key questions:
- How well do students with HFASD perform academically across subjects and domains?
- What features of HFASD lead to academic strengths or weakness?
Much of my work thus far has focused on the written expression skills of students with HFASD; however, my new research will begin to also focus on their mathematical abilities. I also examine several underpinnings of academic achievement, such as: oral language skill, focus and attention, theory of mind (i.e., the ability to understand minds) and integrative processing (i.e., the ability to combine disparate parts into a unified whole).