What is it about?

Early gestures are important predictors of later language development, and children with autism use fewer gestures than children who do not have autism. Are these patterns also seen when young children are observed at home interacting during activities their families do every day? We video recorded 211 toddlers for about an hour at home and gathered information about their communication and gestures. We found important differences between children with and without autism in how often they communicated and how many gestures they used.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Autism may be diagnosed as early as 18 months of age. Unfortunately, most children are not identified until around age 4, and they miss the window of opportunity to receive early intervention. Observing young children's communication and gestures in the home environment may help to lower the age of identification of autism and support family-centered intervention planning.


I hope this article will help speech-language pathologists learn more about what they might observe during a home observation of toddlers and families interacting during everyday activities, whether they are video-recorded, in person, or using video conferencing. The information they gather could support them in spotting early signs of autism and communication delay in toddlers, and could also help them build consensus with families about these early signs.

Abigail Delehanty
Duquesne University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Rate of Communicative Gestures and Developmental Outcomes in Toddlers With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder During a Home Observation, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, March 2021, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2020_ajslp-19-00206.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page