The Importance of Language Delays as an Early Indicator of Subsequent ASD Diagnosis in Public Healthcare Settings

Tanya Nitzan*, Judah Koller, Michal Ilan, Michal Faroy, Analya Michaelovski, Idan Menashe, Gal Meiri, Ilan Dinstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Previous studies have reported that ASD children with more severe symptoms are diagnosed earlier. However, previous studies in community settings have mostly relied on retrospective parental reports without the use of quantitative standardized test scores. Here, we evaluated the association of language, cognitive, and ASD severity standardized scores with the age of diagnosis in 1-6-year-old children diagnosed in a public healthcare setting. The results revealed that language scores were the strongest variable associated with the age of diagnosis, explaining ~ 30% of the variability across children. Indeed, all children diagnosed before 30-months of age exhibited moderate-to-severe language delays. These results further substantiate the prominence of language delay as a highly visible symptom associated with earlier ASD diagnosis in community clinical settings.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Azrieli National Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research is funded by a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and the Azrieli Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Early diagnosis, delayed diagnosis
  • Language delay
  • Speech delay
  • Symptom severity


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