We analyzed the microstructure of child-adult interaction during naturalistic, daylong, automatically labeled audio recordings (13,836 hr total) of children (8- to 48-month-olds) with and without autism. We found that an adult was more likely to respond when the child's vocalization was speech related rather than not speech related. In turn, a child's vocalization was more likely to be speech related if the child's previous speech-related vocalization had received an immediate adult response rather than no response. Taken together, these results are consistent with the idea that there is a social feedback loop between child and caregiver that promotes speech development. Although this feedback loop applies in both typical development and autism, children with autism produced proportionally fewer speech-related vocalizations, and the responses they received were less contingent on whether their vocalizations were speech related. We argue that such differences will diminish the strength of the social feedback loop and have cascading effects on speech development over time. Differences related to socioeconomic status are also reported. © The Author(s) 2014.