A multi-site study of 351 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and 31 typically developing children used caregiver interviews to describe the children's early acquisition and loss of social-communication milestones. For the majority of children with ASD who had experienced a regression, pre-loss development was clearly atypical. Children who had lost skills also showed slightly poorer outcomes in verbal IQ and social reciprocity, a later mean age of onset of autistic symptoms, and more gastrointestinal symptoms than children with ASD and no regression. There was no evidence that onset of autistic symptoms or of regression was related to measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. The implications of these findings for the existence of a 'regressive phenotype' of ASD are discussed.