Language Impairment and Early Social Competence in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Comparison of DSM-5 Profiles

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Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and structural language impairment (LI) may be at risk of more adverse social-developmental outcomes. We examined trajectories of early social competence (using the Vineland-II) in 330 children aged 2–4 years recently diagnosed with ASD, and compared 3 subgroups classified by: language impairment (ASD/LI); intellectual disability (ASD/ID) and ASD without LI or ID (ASD/alone). Children with ASD/LI were significantly more socially impaired at baseline than the ASD/alone subgroup, and less impaired than those with ASD/ID. Growth in social competence was significantly slower for the ASD/ID group. Many preschool-aged children with ASD/LI at time of diagnosis resembled “late talkers” who appeared to catch up linguistically. Children with ASD/ID were more severely impaired and continued to lag further behind.

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Correspondence to T. A. Bennett.

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Bennett, T.A., Szatmari, P., Georgiades, K. et al. Language Impairment and Early Social Competence in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Comparison of DSM-5 Profiles. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 2797–2808 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2138-2

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Keywords

  • Social competence
  • Language impairment
  • DSM-5
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Longitudinal epidemiology