Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 1721–1734 | Cite as

Predictors of Language Acquisition in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Audrey Thurm
  • Catherine Lord
  • Li-Ching Lee
  • Craig Newschaffer
Original paper


In 118 children followed from age 2 to 5 (59 with autism, 24 with PDD-NOS and 35 with non-spectrum developmental disabilities), age 2 and age 3 scores of non-verbal ability, receptive communication, expressive communication and socialization were compared as predictors of receptive and expressive language at age 5. Non-verbal cognitive ability at age 2 was generally the strongest predictor of age 5 language, while at age 3 communication scores were a stronger predictor of age 5 language for children with autism. Early joint attention as well as vocal and motor imitation skills were more impaired in children who did not develop language by age 5 (but had relatively strong non-verbal cognitive skills) than in children who did develop language by 5.


Autism Language Preschool Predictors Outcome 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Audrey Thurm
    • 1
  • Catherine Lord
    • 2
  • Li-Ching Lee
    • 3
  • Craig Newschaffer
    • 4
  1. 1.Pediatric and Developmental Neuropsychiatry BranchNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC)University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsDrexel University School of Public HealthPhiladelphiaUSA

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