This research explores the influence of core neurocognitive processes on syntactic development in autism, a developmental disability characterized by language deficits. Syntactic development requires a child to match co-occurrences of words and morphemes and their meanings, a process that requires the integration of multiple, probabilistic cues from linguistic and social, and real- world contexts, and thus may depend on working memory. Paradoxically, the limited short-term verbal memory characteristic of typically developing children may improve their ability to perform this mapping process by heightening the salience of small meaningful units. In contrast, efficient verbal short-term memory paired with limited working memory could impede syntactic learning. The present research explored the hypothesis that such a pattern characterizes autism, and contributes to language delays. Results, which showed that children with autism exhibited syntactic and working memory deficits, but intact short-term memory, were consistent with this hypothesis. Neurocognitive factors including working memory deficits play a significant role in language delays in autism.