Can an autistic person have very advanced language skills (Verbal communication, not about tonal nor body language skill, nor the written verbal language, I keep dyslexia out of this discussion for sake of specificity) and a very Early age of first talk, while having other autism symptoms?

Notably there are a few blogs and many social media posts that writes about "hyperverbal autistics" but I did not find scientific literature about hyperverbal autistic people.

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    $\begingroup$ Bounty note: There are confusions over autism and language acquisition. It is widely believed that autistics either cannot speak or have a delayed and/or poor language acquisition. But some (proponents of asperger subtype) says an early and/or advance language skill may happen in autism. By DSM merger of all autism subtypes into ASD it means a subset of Autistics (the former 'Aspergers') may possess advanced language skills. What is the current scientific view on this contradiction? $\endgroup$
    – user13859
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ Some clarifications: Is your question about language skills or verbal skills? It is certainly possible to have normal literacy skills while verbal skills are impaired for example. Also, what is missing in your answer below? It seems to cover the relationship of autism and asperger's quite well. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg Verbal communication I mean. In my answer what I miss is updatation. Asperger is an old term. Is there any scientific literature that discusses the "hyperverbal" things relates to autism/ autism spectrum? $\endgroup$
    – user13859
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 18:26

4 Answers 4


They may be referring to hyperlexia (rather than hyperverbal ability):

Hyperlexic children are characterized by word-reading ability well above what would be expected given their age. ... Some experts believe that most children with hyperlexia, or perhaps even all of them, lie on the autism spectrum.

But as far as verbal ability goes, since autism is a spectrum disorder, there is bound to be a spectrum of verbal abilities in those afflicted. Wikipedia summarizes:

Language impairment is also common in children with autism, but it is not necessary for the diagnosis. ... It is also common for individuals with ASD to communicate strong interest in a specific topic, speaking in lesson-like monologues about their passion instead of enabling reciprocal communication with whomever they are speaking to.

In other words, "hyperverbal" autistics are hardly unusual. However, they often struggle with perspective-taking, and hence may speak out of turn, failing to assess their audience's level of interest.

For recent reviews of language acquisition and verbal abilities in individuals with ASD, see for example:

Eigsti et al (2011); "Language acquisition in autism spectrum disorders: A developmental review":

... early studies indicated that some 50% of affected individuals never acquire functional speech, though more recent estimates find a smaller proportion of non-verbal individuals, typically around 25%. Language acquisition in ASD is characterized by dramatic delays, with first words produced at age 38 months, on average, compared to 8–14 months in TD.

Volkers (2017); "Untangling the Language Challenges of Autism":

... on average, children on the spectrum produce their first word one to two years later than typically developing children. And we know that language ability among children on the spectrum varies greatly—some may be fluent conversationalists, while others can barely speak.

  • $\begingroup$ You wrote, 'In other words, "hyperverbal" autistics are hardly unusual' what is meaning of Hardly unusual? is it "very usual" (double negative)? or it means "strongly unusual"? $\endgroup$
    – user13859
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ It means "not particularly unusual" or "somewhat usual". They are not the majority, but not rare either. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 19:25

Yes, this may happen with Asperger subtype of autism.

AS had already been described in 1981 by Lorna Wing, who first proposed the term to refer to a special subgroup of children who, according to Asperger’s original description, were characterized by: social isolation and lack of reciprocity in social interactions; normal or precocious language acquisition, with above-average linguistic skills but subtle abnormalities of verbal and non-verbal communication (e.g., atypical syntax, pedantic vocabulary and absent or stereotyped prosody); a narrow focus of interests, often restricted to unpragmatic and highly original themes; overachievement in specific cognitive domains; and motor clumsiness (Wing, 1981).

--- A Concise History of Asperger Syndrome: The Short Reign of a Troublesome Diagnosis; by J. B. Barahona-Corrêa and Carlos N. Filipe (PMC)

Some authors claimed that Asperger subtype is characterised by no obvious language delay.

One approach to resolve this question has been to adopt the criterion of absence of clinically significant language or cognitive delay — essentially, the “absence of language delay.”

--- Can Asperger syndrome be distinguished from autism? An anatomic likelihood meta-analysis of MRI studies; by Kevin K. Yu, Charlton Cheung, Gráinne M. McAlonan (PMC)

I did not found research articles about very early talkers, but some internet article claims very early talkers sometimes experience social deficits but without explicite mention of ASD. such as https://www.huffpost.com/entry/9-truths-about-early-talk_b_8137426/amp


In Phonology and vocal behavior in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders (PMC full text) it has been said that

In terms of phonological development, articulation is often reported to be normal or even precocious in children with ASD who speak (Kjelgaard & Tager-Flusberg, 2001; Pierce & Bartolucci, 1977), although Rapin, Dunn, Allen, Stevens and Fein (2009) and Cleland, Gibbon, Peppé, O'Hare and Rutherford (2010) showed a range of patterns of speech and language behavior to be present in school-aged children with ASD.

(Although they discusses other anomalies in language development)

in Early language and communication development of infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder it is said that

Overall, this prospective study confirms that delays in communication and language development are apparent early in life in children with ASD, and emphasizes that developmental surveillance should include monitoring for delays in gesture, which may be among the earliest signs of ASD.


As an Autistic person myself, and as a person knowing many autistic people, I can assure you we indeed are capable of language. Even very low functioning autistic individuals are at least somewhat capable of speech, this is not true in all cases, of course; but it is not, in the majority of cases, to the degree of them being incapable of language comprehension or acquisition.



Here are some examples, and also, the reason you cannot find scientific papers on it is because there is no reason whatsoever to make a peer reviewed paper on the topic of Autistic people being able to understand language, as we all already know that to be the case, and already know why it is the case.

That being, Autism is a Spectrum Disorder and can have various different intensities, and even than, like all Mental Disorders, it does not always manifest in the exact same manner. For example, look at the manner used for diagnoses in the DSM-V, (https://asatonline.org/for-parents/diagnosis/)

Criterion A: social communication deficits, consisting of three items, all of which must be met to satisfy this criterion;

Criterion B: fixated interests and repetitive behaviours consisting of four items, of which at least two must be met to satisfy this criterion;

Criterion C: symptoms existing in early childhood;

Criterion D: symptoms impairing functioning; and

Criterion E impairments are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay (APA, 2011; CDC, 2014).

All five must be met, but they are all very wide in nature, and none of the criteria include impairment in general language comprehension ability, and, as the anecdotal evidence supports, one very much can have Autism and have high language ability


American Psychiatric Association [APA] (2011). DSM-5 https://www.dsm5.org

Centers for Disease Control [CDC] (2014). Diagnostic Criteria for 299.00 Autism Spectrum Disorder https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think OP was asking about basic capability for language, but about some sort of "very advanced language", though they were not very clear about what exactly "advanced" means. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 16:51
  1. There is very little if anything at all that an autistic can't learn once they've developed an intense interest in it.

  2. Autism is a label reserved for people who demonstrate a socio-communication delay during early development.

The areas of language are phonology (speech sounds), semantic & orthographic (word knowledge), syntactic (grammar/morphology), discourse (conversation/narration), and pragmatic (socioemotional). Any and all areas of language (and speech) can be affected as well, but it ain't autism if there is not at least a history of pragmatic language delay at an early age.

It is not unusual for someone to present aspie-like with excellent vocabulary and grammar skills. Mine aren't "superior", but it is still surprizingly difficult for me to speak simply. Often the lack of precision almost feels like lying ;) I am enjoying the wisdom attributed to Mark Twain: If I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

...Pls excuse my ODD for just an instant: Dyslexia can coexist with autism in much the same way you could stub your toe when you had a head cold. At risk of simplifying, dyslexia affects the language area of phonology, then literacy neglect obstructs the development of the higher language levels.