Many children with autism develop proficient verbal language skills, but some remain minimally verbal into adulthood. In this study, children with autism were assessed in preschool and again at school age to identify skills that predicted their language development. The researchers assessed children’s early neurodevelopmental abilities including fine and gross motor skills, visual-spatial skills, and proficiency in activities of daily living. They found that minimally verbal preschoolers with high neurodevelopmental skills were more likely to develop spoken language by school-age than those with low neurodevelopmental skills. Given the global assessment used in this study, conclusions about specific predictive skills could not be made. Therefore, more research is necessary to help identify which children may develop spoken language and which may benefit from individualized support to build communication.

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