Researchers at the University of Massachusetts are conducting a study to determine how children with autism learn speech and language. Autism is a development disorder characterized by cognitive and social impairment. In the wide autism spectrum, some children can talk, others can’t — or at least, not meaningfully. The new study will give autistic children a battery of tests in language acquisition. Lead researcher Shelley Velleman, of the UMass School of Public Health says improving speech might help improve the prognosis for autistic children.