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J Autism Dev Disord. 2010 Oct;40(10):1259-73. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-0983-1.

Early language patterns of toddlers on the autism spectrum compared to toddlers with developmental delay.

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  • 1Department of Communicative Disorders and Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, USA. ellisweismer@wisc.edu

Abstract

This study characterized early language abilities in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (n = 257) using multiple measures of language development, compared to toddlers with non-spectrum developmental delay (DD, n = 69). Findings indicated moderate to high degrees of agreement among three assessment measures (one parent report and two direct assessment measures). Performance on two of the three measures revealed a significant difference in the profile of receptive-expressive language abilities for toddlers with autism compared to the DD group, such that toddlers with autism had relatively more severe receptive than expressive language delays. Regression analyses examining concurrent predictors of language abilities revealed both similarities in significant predictors (nonverbal cognition) and differences (frequency of vocalization, imitation) across the diagnostic groups.

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