Social language opportunities for preschoolers with autism: Insights from audio recordings in urban classrooms

Early intervention is important for preschoolers on the autism spectrum, but little is known about early intervention classrooms in the community. This study found that children with better language skills and lower autism severity have more verbal interactions with their classmates, especially in classrooms with typically developing peers (inclusion settings). Findings suggest that natural language sampling is a useful method for characterizing autistic children and their early intervention settings. In addition, natural language sampling may have important implications for understanding individual opportunities for development in community early intervention settings.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorders; communication and language; early intervention; education services; environmental factors; pre-school children.