Early predictors of communication development in young children with autism spectrum disorder: joint attention, imitation, and toy play.


Journal Article

This study investigated the unique contributions of joint attention, imitation, and toy play to language ability and rate of development of communication skills in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sixty preschool-aged children with ASD were assessed using measures of joint attention, imitation, toy play, language, and communication ability. Two skills, initiating protodeclarative joint attention and immediate imitation, were most strongly associated with language ability at age 3-4 years, whereas toy play and deferred imitation were the best predictors of rate of communication development from age 4 to 6.5 years. The implications of these results for understanding the nature and course of language development in autism and for the development of targeted early interventions are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Toth, K; Munson, J; Meltzoff, AN; Dawson, G

Published Date

  • November 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 993 - 1005

PubMed ID

  • 16845578

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16845578

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0162-3257

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10803-006-0137-7


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States