Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1581–1594 | Cite as

Predicting Intentional Communication in Preverbal Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Micheal Sandbank
  • Tiffany Woynaroski
  • Linda R. Watson
  • Elizabeth Gardner
  • Bahar Keçeli Kaysili
  • Paul Yoder
Original Paper


Intentional communication has previously been identified as a value-added predictor of expressive language in preverbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. In the present study, we sought to identify value-added predictors of intentional communication. Of five theoretically-motivated putative predictors of intentional communication measured early in the study (at study entry and 4 months after), three had significant zero-order correlations with later intentional communication (12 months after study entry) and were thus added to a linear model that predicted later intentional communication scores controlling for initial intentional communication scores at study entry. After controlling for initial intentional communication, early motor imitation was the only predictor that accounted for a significant amount of variance in children’s later intentional communication.


Autism spectrum disorder Intentional communication Motor imitation Predictors Longitudinal 



This research was funded by National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD R01DC006893) and supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute, the National Institutes of Health (U54HD083211), and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (P30HD03110). The project was additionally supported by CTSA award No. KL2TR000446 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences or the National Institutes of Health. We are very grateful to our wonderful staff (Nicole Thompson, Paula McIntyre, Ariel Schwartz, Tricia Paulley, Kristen Fite, Maura Tourian, Ann Firestine, Lucy Stefani, Olivia Fairchild, Amanda Haskins, Danielle Kopkin, Kathleen Berry, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Rebecca Louick, Caitlin Malloy, Chelsey Carroll, and Jessica Barnes) and to the families who trust us with their precious children.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Micheal Sandbank declares that she has no conflict of interest. Tiffany Woynaroski declares that she has no conflict of interest. Linda R. Watson declares that she has no conflict of interest. Elizabeth Gardner declares that she has no conflict of interest. Bahar Keceli Kaysili declares that she has no conflict of interest. Paul Yoder declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Micheal Sandbank
    • 1
  • Tiffany Woynaroski
    • 2
  • Linda R. Watson
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Gardner
    • 4
  • Bahar Keçeli Kaysili
    • 2
  • Paul Yoder
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Special EducationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Hearing and Speech Sciences DepartmentVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Vanderbilt Kennedy CenterVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Special Education DepartmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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