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Language Benchmarks in Children with ASD

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Language Phase Language Domain Measures Variables Range in Typical Development Example Minimum Criteria
First Words
12 - 18 months
Phonology NLS CV combinations or CV-CVC hi, Mommy CV, or
NLS Consonant Inventory 2 - 8 different consonants m, b, y, n, w, d, p, h (Early 8) 4 consonants
Vocabulary

NLS

# different words used referentially in 20 mins or

2 - 15 words

more, bubble, go, open ball

5 types and 20 tokens, or

Parent Report

# different word roots or

(range for 13-18 mo.)

MCDI

AE for 15 months, or

Direct Assessment

Confrontation naming

(range for 13-18 mo.)

Mullen; Reynell

AE for 15 months

Pragmatics

NLS

# different communicative functions or

2 - 5 functions

comments; request;

Comments + 1 other, or

Direct Assessment

# communication functions

(range for 13-18 mo.)

CSBS

AE for 15 months

Word
Combinations
18 - 30 months
Phonology NLS

CV combinations or

CV - CCVCC

go, drink

Closed syllables, or

Word structures or

1 - 3 syllable words

 

Syllable words, or

% fully intelligible or

40 - 80%

 

50 % intelligible, or

# consonants

8 - 18 consonants

Early 8 + t, ng, k, g, f, v, ch, j

10 consonants

Vocabulary

NLS

# different words used referentially in 20 mins or

10 - 50 words

 

30 words, or

Parent Report

# different words or

(range for 21-27 mo.)

MCDI; LDS

24 mo. AE, or

Direct Assessment

Confrontation naming

21 - 27 mo. age range

EOWVT

24 mo. AE

Grammar

NLS

mean length of utterance or

MLU: 1.1 - 2.4 (in morphemes)

 

MLU=1.8, or

Parent Report

mean length in words of 3 longest utterances or

(range for 21-27 mo.; on MCDI:2.6-5.5)

MCDI

MCDI: 3.8, or

Direct Assessment

 

 

See text

24 mo. AE

Pragmatics

NLS

# different communicative functions or

3 - 6 functions

comments, request; turn-taking

comments, request, turn-taking, or

 

Proportional JA+Social/Total Comm. Acts or

.3 - .7

 

0.5, or

 

Conversational functions or

responds and initiates

answer/ask question

2 initiations+ 2 responses, or

Parent Report

Inventory of child's communicative use

21 - 27 mo. age range

LUI

24 mo. AE

Sentences
30 - 48 months

Phonology

NLS

% fully intelligible or

70-100%

 

75% intelligible, or

NLS

Consonant Inventory or

16-24 different C; 75% correct

Previous Cs + sh, th, s, z, l, zh

 

Direct Assessment

AE score

 

GFTA-2

36 mo. AE

Vocabulary

NLS

# different word roots or

70-136 in 65 utterances

SALT norms

92 in 65 utterances, or

Direct Assessment

AE score

(range for 30-48 mo.)

 

36 mo. AE

Grammar

NLS

MLU in morphemes or

2.7 - 4.0 MLU

 

MLU=3.0, or

Direct Assessment

AE score

 

TEGI; SPELT-3

36 mo. AE

Pragmatics

Elicited NLS

Discourse functions or

narration

pretense; talk about past/future

1 narrative, or

NLS

Conversational topic-related turn taking or

 

 

2 full turns on same topic, or

 

 

 

 

following adult utterance

Parent Report

Inventory of child's communicative use or

30 -48 mo. age range

LUI

36 mo. AE, or

Direct Assessment

Communicative functions

30 -48 mo. age range

CASL

36 mo. AE on Pragmatic subtest

Key

Tests
Mullen: Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen, 1995)
Reynell: Reynell Developmental Language Scales (Reynell & Gruber, 1990)
CSBS: Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (Wetherby & Prizant, 2002)
MCDI: MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (Fenson et al., 2007)
LDS: Language Development Survey (Rescorla, 1989)
EOWVT: Expresssive One Word Vocabulary Test - Revised (Gardner, 1990)
LUI: Language Use Inventory (O'Neil, 2007)
GFTA-2: Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation -2 (Goldman & Fristoe, 2000)
SALT norms: Miller & Chapman (1981)
TEGI: Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (Rice & Wexler, 2001)
SPELT 3: Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test 3 (Dawson & Stout, 2003)
CASL: Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (Carrow-Woolfolk, 1999)

Other Abbreviations
NLS: Natural Language Sample
AE: Age equivalent
MLU: Mean Length of Utterance
C: Consonant
V: Vowel