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Although the social communicative domain is recognized as being at risk in young children with visual impairment (VI), few tools are available for identifying those most at risk or the aspects that are most vulnerable.A standard parent interview – Social Communication Interview for young children with visual impairment (SOCI-VI), was developed and tested with 55 parents of 17 profoundly, 15 severely VI and 23 normally sighted children; mean age 22 months (range 10–40 months). The 35-item SOCI-VI 35 showed adequate inter-rater and test–retest reliability (P < 0.001).Thirteen of 35 items discriminated within and between the vision groups (anova P 0.008). The group with profound VI scored significantly lower than the Sighted group on the reduced 13 item SOCI-VI 13 (t-test P 0.002), the disparity being greatest for items exploring joint attention. The reduced SOCI-VI 13 showed adequate internal consistency (Cronbach alpha > 0.75) and concurrent validity with the Vineland adaptation questionnaire within a randomized VI subgroup (r 0.8, P < 0.01).The study reveals trends in early social communicative development in the young VI population and provides preliminary reliability and validity testing for future research within a clinical context.