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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1996 Nov;35(11):1542-50.

Language level and nonverbal social-communicative behaviors in autistic and language-delayed children.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



To explore the relationship of general expressive language delay to nonverbal social-communicative deficits and repetitive behaviors associated with autism in preschool children.


Interviews of the parents of 51 autistic and 43 nonautistic 3- to 5-year-olds with language impairments were compared.


Main effects of the children's language level occurred for the majority of social and nonverbal communication items but not for restricted, repetitive behaviors or showing and directing attention, socially directed gaze, or range of facial expression.


In addition to the specific impairments of autism, a broader conceptualization of communication handicap is urged for preschool children with developmental delays.

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