In this study, spoken language benchmarks proposed by Tager-Flusberg et al. (2009) were used to characterize communication profiles of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to investigate whether there were differences in variables hypothesized to influence language development at different benchmark levels. The majority of children in the sample presented with uneven communication profiles, with relative strengths in phonology and significant weaknesses in pragmatics. When children were grouped according to one expressive language domain across-group differences were observed in response to joint attention and gestures, but not cognition or restricted and repetitive behaviors. The authors reported the spoken language benchmarks are useful for characterizing early communication profiles and investigating features that influence expressive language growth.
Ellawadi, Allison Bean & Weismer, Susan Ellia. (2015). Using Spoken Language Benchmarks to Characterize the Expressive Language Skills of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0190