A longitudinal study of joint attention and language development in autistic children

Peter Clive Mundy, Marian Sigman, Connie Kasari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

622 Scopus citations


This study was designed to examine the degree to which individual differences in gestural joint attention skills predicted language development among autistic children. A group of 15 autistic children (mean CA=45 months) were matched with one group of mentally retarded (MR) children on mental age and another group of MR children on language age. These groups were administered the Early Social-Communication Scales. The latter provided measures of gestural requesting, joint attention, and social behaviors. The results indicated that, even when controlling for language level, mental age, or IQ, autistic children displayed deficits in gestural joint attention skills on two testing sessions that were 13 months apart. Furthermore, the measure of gestural nonverbal joint attention was a significant predictor of language development in the autistic sample. Other variables, including initial language level and IQ were not significant predictors of language development in this sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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