Mary Wang, a student at Western University and the UA Global Winner 2016 in the Languages and Linguistics category, was a recent guest on the 'Ontario Morning' radio programme broadcast on CBC Radio.
Ms. Wang whose winning paper was entitled 'Does developmental social pragmatic intervention for children with autism influence parent language use?,' was invited to speak about her research which explores the potential benefits of parents and primary caregivers providing a key source of linguistic input early in the developmental process of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Regarding children with autism, Ms. Wang commented that "we need to provide a way for them to receive therapy on a daily basis and this is the idea behind my project, getting the parents involved in their child's language development."
Ms. Wang also explained her inspiration to study this topic:
"My interest in language and communication comes from a time when I wasn't able to communicate at all. My parents and I immigrated to Canada from China when I was 5 year's old and I was thrown into an entirely new world. I didn't know a word of English and it turned out also that my first day of school was on Halloween so everyone was in costume. I remember thinking that this was a strange place. Having that language barrier was a source of frustration for me, not being able to tell the teacher what I needed or to interact fully with the other kids in my class. I think that's why I wanted to study autism because I could definitely relate first-hand to the challenges they faced with communication."
Ms. Wang's paper is just one example of the ground-breaking research that's being completed by undergraduate students all around the world. UA is proud to recognise and celebrate these achievements, and offer a platform to outstanding students like Ms. Wang.