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Is a speech delay always a sign of ASD?

(17 Posts)
olivo Tue 13-Sep-11 21:27:00

sorry, have also posted this in SEN, as I didnt know there was a whole SN section!
if a child has a speech delay, can they exist on their own, or are they considered part of an ASD? Whenever I look up speech delays, they are always linked with autism, there is not much lone info on them.

chocjunkie Tue 13-Sep-11 21:46:51

olivo, this board is much more active than the SEN board. always better to post here if you want replies grin

speech delay is often (but not always) one of the symptoms of ASD. however, it can also occur just on its own. you will find both here on this board.

I have a DD (3.5) with very delayed/disordered speech and we are under observation regarding ASD. however, DD has a lot of other ASD traits apart from the delayed speech.

how old is your DS? how is his speech? do you have any other concerns about him? how is his nonverbal communication?

Agnesdipesto Tue 13-Sep-11 21:46:54

They are not always linked. Can be lots of reasons for speech delay.
Have a look at AFASIC or ICAN websites.
For ASD symptoms in a young child look at MCHAT which is a rough test of autism symptoms and shows that speech delay is only one part of autism

survivingsummer Wed 14-Sep-11 13:35:21

A friend of mine has a ds with no ASD or other difficulties other than very delayed speech. After a few years of SALT he is mostly understandable and hugely improved from where he was.

chickensaresafehere Wed 14-Sep-11 13:40:46

Check out my recent post olivo -
All the professionals have said my dd2(4.6),who is non-verbal shows no signs at all of ASD,but I cannot find any help regarding isolated speech delay.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 14-Sep-11 13:44:42

It was explained to me once this way. You can have speech delay and not ASD, but usually you will be communicating fine on a non-verbal basis (eg pointing, using eye contact to share attention, waving and other gestures to get your meaning across to other people). It is literally just that the verbal stuff is delayed. With ASD, it's not just the speech which is affected, but also the DESIRE or NEED to communicate. So the kid has no real wish to communicate, is in his or her own little world (hence the word autistic means literally "preferring to be by himself"). It made a lot of sense to me at the time.

zzzzz Wed 14-Sep-11 13:52:02

My son has a language disorder [no dx] and definitely wants to communicate, but his language is delayed. He has many behaviours that are similar to ASD kids as far as I can gather but most of the ones he shares are the same as the behaviours that those kids share with much younger children [ie he is very immature/delayed emotionally]. In my area SALT seems only to be focused on speech problems rather than language and all the help with language is linked in with ASD stuff.

But no you can definitely have a language/speech delay/disorder without having the other aspects of disability that would add up to asd. That does not mean the child won't be more or less affected, just he has only some facets of an ASD.

graciousenid Wed 14-Sep-11 14:10:11

when we were first worried about ds we saw a private SALT who said speech delays were associated with ASD in about a third of cases, hearing problems in another third & the final third were isolated language issues. I have no idea if that is actually true though!

chocjunkie Wed 14-Sep-11 14:57:03

our salt also explained to us, that sometimes it is a bit of a chicken and egg question with delayed speech and ASD/no ASD. often, delayed speech can impact also on the interaction and social communication with others and the lack of speech might make the child appear ASD-ish when in fact it is not and only cause by the speech & language issues...

oodlesofdoodles Wed 14-Sep-11 19:34:31

sickof - my ds has just been given an ASD dx, which we are probably going to ask be kept off his medical records.
His communication is definitely jumbled, his language comprehension is poor, he often trots out stock phrases, he tries to start conversations by throwing out random comments, has reduced eye contact (I could go on) BUT he goes want to communicate and does want to be with others. Are you saying that he shouldn't count as ASD?

oodlesofdoodles Wed 14-Sep-11 19:37:49

sorry Olivo I just hijacked your thread

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 14-Sep-11 19:38:17

It's such a wide spectrum oodles. I have a DSD who is autistic but so hf you really wouldn't know she wasn't totally "normally-functioning". Actually her parents keep it on her records as it helps with getting extra help and time in exams, and the other kids don't have to know. The only common thing that seems to link the wide wide wide variety of autistic kids I have met, from severe to mild, is social problems of some sort.

oodlesofdoodles Wed 14-Sep-11 19:44:54

thanks sickof, that's useful to know about the exams - a long time in the future for ds.

olivo Wed 14-Sep-11 20:47:25

thank you all for your help. It is my DD2, she is just 2, and has seen SALT and I've been todl she has an expressive delay. her communication (pointing, some words or part words, a few signs, eye contact, waving the potty at me!) is fine, her understanding of instructions, voocab etc is fine too, as is her hearing and ears. We've only had 1 appt and I have been referred for a course to help, and the SALT is going to go into DDs nursery.

I just wondered about the ASD as every website seems to link the two.

working9while5 Wed 14-Sep-11 22:22:15


About 2 in 10 children have speech delay. Many of these children will just "grow out of it"

About 1 in 6 may have persisting speech difficulties but only a very small minority (2%) will have severe and long lasting speech and/or language disorder (where speech and language aren't just following the same pattern but at a slower rate, but things are out of sequence or there are gaps that seem to be difficult to plug).

This does not include children and young people with ASD. ASD is a separate diagnosis to language delay and/or language disorder but people with ASD will have language and/or communication difficulties as this is part of the diagnostic criteria for an ASD.

working9while5 Wed 14-Sep-11 22:23:20

Sorry, meant to say that a person with ASD may have language delay or language disorder but a person can also have language delay or disorder without any ASD whatsoever.

olivo Thu 15-Sep-11 20:35:54

thanks, working. It is all very overwhelming at this stage, but helps to understand this.

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