Orla Putnam

About Me 

I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. I work with Dr. Clare Harrop. My research primarily involves characterizing what autism looks like in people who are assigned female at birth using language processing, eye tracking, and qualitative methods

Much of this work focuses on social communication: As a non-autistic person with ADHD, my personal and professional experiences have led me to be fascinated by how our speech and communication is influenced by our surroundings (where we are, who  we're with, what we're talking about or focusing on). As such, a long-term line of research I hope to continue to pursue is examining how individuals communicate across social contexts. 

Understanding how people with different brains communicate can lead to improved conversations, relationships, and occupational success for all! My long term goal is to further our understanding of social communication for these purposes, as well as to identify communication markers that lead to improved recognition of underdiagnosed populations. 

I grew up in Encinitas, California and received my bachelor's degree in Human Development Sciences from UC San Diego in 2018. I am proud to say that I was the first person in my family to attend college, and I am always seeking out opportunities to provide resources and mentorship to other first-generation students. 

My hobbies include knitting (I knitted the cardigan in my headshot above!), reading, and paddle boarding. If you're ever on a zoom call with me you may see my delightful dog, Lacey!