From a young age, imitation abilities are critical for social cognitive development. A study has found that children with autism spectrum disorders exhibit poor imitation skills (ASD). The result of imitation behaviors in children with ASD is poorly understood. For a study, researchers determined how early imitation skills affect other aspects of early development in preschoolers with ASD. The researchers examined imitation, language, and cognition abilities in 177 children with ASD and 43 normally developing children (TD) aged 2 to 5 for the survey, with 126 of them being followed longitudinally for a total of 396-time points. In comparison to TD children, the researchers supported the occurrence of an early imitation deficit in toddlers with ASD. The analysis of the trajectories revealed that these challenges began at the age of two and steadily faded until 5. At the start of the survey, the ASD group’s imitation skills were closely linked to cognitive and verbal abilities, as well as the severity of their symptoms. Furthermore, in the ASD group, baseline imitation skills were predictive of language gains a year later. Within the ASD group, the researchers identified diverse developmental trajectories of imitation skills using a data-driven clustering method. The research’s clinical implications are examined, specifically the influence of an early imitation deficit on a young child’s other competence areas.