This article examines early developmental histories of learners who attended a government-funded school for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in South Africa from 1992 to 2014. A total of 141 complete historical admission records of learners were analysed. Frequencies, means and correlations were determined for perinatal conditions and developmental milestones. Low birth weight and preterm birth did not occur more than in the general South African population. Only 7.6% of the participants had delayed motor development. Self-help skills, except for feeding, were mostly achieved according to typical developmental criteria. Half of the participants started talking after the age of three years and that was the main reason why parents became concerned about their development. The percentage of participants who were non-verbal and had regressed speech was higher than that reported in other studies. Public information should focus on early developmental factors associated with ASD risk to expedite early identification and diagnosis.