Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Science (MS)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



The language skills of children with ASD vary across the population and prove challenging to assess for many reasons. The current study was designed to compare two language assessments for children with ASD to gain understanding in determining the best method for assessment. The Preschool Language Scale-5 (PLS-5) is a standardized language assessment commonly used in the field of Speech-Language Pathology, while the Verbal Behavioral Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is commonly used in Applied Behavior Analysis. Scores from children with ASD (N=17) on a total of 64 functionally equivalent items from both assessments were analyzed to determine the relationship between the two assessments and if the difference in scores between the two assessments was significant.

Results indicated that the VB-MAPP and the PLS-5 were correlated, in terms of both receptive and expressive measures. The expressive portions between the two assessments were indicated to have a stronger correlation than the receptive portions. The median raw VB-MAPP expressive scores were statistically significantly higher than the median raw PLS-5 Expressive scores. There was no significant difference found between the median raw VB-MAPP receptive scores and the median raw PLS-5 receptive scores.

These findings suggest that the VB-MAPP showed more expressive language skills in the children with ASD than the PLS-5. However, results from receptive portions suggest that both the VB-MAPP and PLS-5 showed similar receptive language profiles for the participants of this study. Results from this study cannot be generalized to how these assessments will measure language across the ASD population. Further investigation should seek to collect more comprehensive information by including a larger sample size and alternative standardized assessments.

Committee Chair

Dr. Daphne Hartzheim