The study explored whether children with high functioning autism (HFA), Asperger syndrome (AS), and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) can be differentiated on the Children's Communication Checklist (CCC). The study also investigated whether empirically derived autistic subgroups can be identified with a cluster analytic method based on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. Fifty-seven children with HFA, 47 with AS, 31 with PDD-NOS, and a normal control group of 47 children between 6 and 13 years participated. Children with HFA,AS, and PDDNOS showed pragmatic communication deficits in comparison to the controls. Little difference was found between the three subtypes with respect to their CCC profile.A three-cluster solution explained the data best.The HFA cluster showed most autism characteristics, followed by the combined HFA + AS cluster, and then the PDD-NOS cluster. The findings support the autism spectrum concept based on severity of symptom impairment rather than distinct categories. © 2006 SAGE Publications and The National Autistic Society.