The cognitive and language skills of 30 siblings of children with autism (SIBS-A) and 30 siblings of typically developing children (SIBS-TD) were compared. Non-significant group differences emerged for cognition at both ages. At 24 months, significantly more SIBS-A demonstrated language scores one or two standard deviations below the mean compared to SIBS-TD. At 36 months, the groups differed significantly in receptive language, and more SIBS-A displayed receptive and expressive difficulties compared to SIBS-TD. Six SIBS-A (including one diagnosed with autism) revealed language scores more than two standard deviations below the mean at both ages, a pattern not seen in the SIBS-TD. Results are discussed in reference to language difficulties in autism spectrum disorders and the genetic liability for autism.