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Clinician proposed predictors of spoken language outcomes for minimally verbal children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Version 2 2023-07-21, 05:38
Version 1 2020-10-28, 06:38
journal contribution
posted on 2020-10-28, 06:38 authored by David Trembath, R Sutherland, Kristina Caithness, Anne Dissanayake, V Eapen, K Fordyce, G Frost, Teresa Iacono, N Mahler, A Masi, J Paynter, Katherine Pye, S Reilly, Veronica Frewer, S Sievers, A Thirumanickam, M Westerveld, M Tucker
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Our aim was to explore insights from clinical practice that may inform efforts to understand and account for factors that predict spoken language outcomes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who use minimal verbal language. We used a qualitative design involving three focus groups with 14 speech pathologists to explore their views and experiences. Using the Framework Method of analysis, we identified 9 themes accounting for 183 different participant references to potential factors. Participants highlighted the relevance of clusters of fine-grained social, communication, and learning behaviours, including novel insights into prelinguistic vocal behaviours. The participants suggested the potential value of dynamic assessment in predicting spoken language outcomes. The findings can inform efforts to developing clinically relevant methods for predicting children’s communication outcomes.


We kindly thank the clinicians who participated in this research. This research was supported by a grant from the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the study was conducted using the infrastructure and resources of the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres (ASLECCs) in Queensland (AEIOU Nathan ASELCC and Gold Coast Centre), Victoria (Margot Prior ASELCC), New South Wales (KU Marcia Burgess ASELCC), Tasmania (St Giles ASELCC), South Australia (Anglicare Daphne Street ASELCC), and Western Australia (Autism Association of Western Australia ASELCC). The ASELCCs were established through funding from the Department of Social Services. David Trembath was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council ECR FellXowship.

Australian Government Department of Social Services

Department of Social Services

National Health and Medical Research Council ECR Fellowship


Publication Date



Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders




Springer Nature



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