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Is speech and language delay ever -not- autism?(29 Posts)
I have been wondering if DD (17 months) is showing signs of autism, she is not yet saying any words (does babble, but not very wide range of sounds) and has only just started pointing (very occasionally, usually requesting to be picked up) she has never used gestures like waving, but does know some of the actions to songs (wind the bobbin). She has a referral to a paed consultant (but about another issue! Her hypermobility) and I will bring all this up when we get the appointment time, but I am over thinking things and googling a lot in the mean time, and keep coming back to autism.
So, people out there who have more experience - have you a little one who has speech and language delay that is not also on the autistic spectrum?
yes, S & L delay is not inevitably due to autism. think it's fair to say though that sometimes it can feel like a v fine line between S & L delay and autism sometimes, particularly if S & L delay is affecting social skills and imaginative play. Have a google for the CHAT test (screening autism checklist for toddlers)
DS2 had a severe speech and language delay, didn't wave or point until he was 2.5yrs old, and had incredibly sensitive hearing.
He is now about to turn 9, and is NT, a bright and articulate child. In his case (and he didn't speak at all until he was 3.2yrs old) the speech and language delay seemed to mimic many of the characteristics of autism.
I would go with your instincts on this one: mention your suspicions to the paed consultant and see what they say. Many of the symptoms of a speech and language delay can be very similar to those of autism.
Ds1 didn't talk until he was 3. He's NT, for sure, if a bit geeky! Now, DS2 does have ASD, but while he also didn't speak until late, more like 4, his communication was much worse, so in retrospect, DS1's speech delay was much less worrying. He would point at every light aircraft that flew over, (live near an airfield) and say uououo, his way of commenting on it and sharing it with me. He used 'portmanteau' words, ie 'wall' meant building, bricks, blocks, Lego and wall, 'orange' meant orange, apple, red, green, blue, crayon, etc. It was the sharing and joint attention that was so much better than DS2.
No idea if that helps or not, but he had pretty significant speech delay and was seeing a SALT from 2.5 until 4.5. He did learn to read really late and English (or French) are never going to be his favourite subjects, but he's not autistic at all. DS3, however, is quirky...
Speech and Language delay can be caused by a wide range of individual issues which can sometimes be part of the combination of issues which can cause the behavioural traits which are observed as part of a diagnosis of autism.
You could start by having a look at the wide range of issues included in Speech and Language Pathology, most of which can cause speech delay and individually a long way from autism.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) a listening disability can often be the cause of these types of problems. APD can be one of the complex cognitive issues that combine, co-exist, to be an underlying cause of observed ASD
Homemadechutney - may I ask about your ds sensitive hearing. Does he still have sensitive hearing or was it something that diminished as he matured?
My son was totally mute at 2 and said mum and not much more at 3y. He has verbal dyspraxia. We got a private salt round when he was two and a half who diagnosed him. He now has nhs salt. Hth
EllenJane - I've never heard the term 'portmanteau' before but it decribes my DD's early language development well.
My DD is 5.6 and has a language disorder and it did affect her social skills and social communication (mainly outside the family unit), and terrible tantrums from frustration between 2 and 4. Now her language is developing at a steady pace (with support) and all those concerns have dropped away.
We're all guilty of it, but googling can often raise as many questions as it answers really. I found very little out there that dealt specifically with language disorders. Google did help me find this board though so it was all good in the end!
I think a SALT mentioned portmanteau to me, years ago. (Hope I didn't make it up myself!
Oops, it's not portmanteau, that's something else entirely. Stupid memory. He was using one word to signify lots of associated ideas. Like 'muk' initially meant milk, then water, then rain, the sea, any drink, any liquid, really.
I don't think it's too early to be concerned about communication delay but as everyone else has said above, the signs of many situations whether major or minor can be similar at 17 months. My ds1 had very significant delays at 17 months in all areas of communication but as he was our first child, we did not realise how significant they were. ds2 is NT and when he was 17 months, I was blown away by just how much communication both verbal and non verbal there was which made me wonder why no one had told us how serious ds1's deficits were. However now I realise that when professionals have little time to spend with any one child and when symptoms can be be mixed and confused a prolonged period of inaction and waiting and seeing is the end result. I think for now you need to focus on increasing communication and interaction regardless of any outcome. The Hanen books, More Than Words and Takes Two To Talk have lost of good ideas. Many ideas on 'autism' are not helpful either - ds1 has and always has had brilliant joint attention, it's just that what he wants to 'joint attend' to is significantly below his peers.
My DS3 did a lot of babbling, and clearly knew what he was trying to say. But no consonant sounds, unintelligible most of the time. Comprehension was completely normal - he clearly had the language, just not the speech.
Anyway - diagnosis was Verbal Dyspraxia. As one of his brothers is Dyspraxic (motor - his speech is fine), it wasn't a surprise. After a lot of speech therapy and a lot of hard work on his part, and some amazing SALT input, he's doing really well - he's 9 now. Most people don't realise he's ever had problems; it's only when he's tired or cross that it all slips.
hi ds3 was non verbal till the last year and did not pint or wave till turned 4 etc .But everyone agreed not ASD he also had intent to communicate and would use everything he could to communicate with you he hasa dx of sever verbal and oral dyspraxia as well as EDs which affetcs his jaw and some gDD
But now he is talking though people still do struggle it is stil very clear not ASd
My DS has a speech and language delay which is officially dx'd as a social communication disorder or delay. He isn't on the spectrum because to be on the spectrum you need to hit a number of diagnostic criteria. He hits some of the ASD criteria, he's just below some others of them, he's NT on others. But he still has his own issues and needs and his delay could continue in such a way that he could still end up with an ASD dx (ie as his peers get more sophisticated the gap between them could get wider, so we could eventually find his thresholds are different).
Dd2 didn't speak until past three. She also has issues with muscle tone and global delay. She has cp.
As an aside, the hyper mobility may also be present in the muscles used to develop oromotor skills, so that may explain some of the delays (clues might be related to feeding or drooling)
Lots of diff reasons for sl delay.
@Ellenjane - same thing except all liquids were 'juice' to her.
From the other side of it - my DS wasn't diagnosed with AS until about 6 years after they first suspected it because his speech made it hard to tell whether he had AS with a speech disorder or whether the speech disorder was causing AS like traits that might resolve if they could improve his speech.
I'd assume that if paeds, clinical and ed psychs and SALTs were all saying that, that you must get speech disorders that are completely unrelated to ASDs.
oh ds is almost 7 now still major speech issue and gdd but still everyone agrees not asd
My DD aged 3.5 yrs has severe speech delay and poor social skills as a result of it. She has not been diagnosed with anything beyond a severe speech delay.
She doesn't meet any of the other criteria for ASD.
We are still undergoing paed and ed-pych assessments and have the school SENCO involved but I can't see a clear answer for her problems any time soon.
BTW, she has been seen briefly twice since starting preschool (last September) by SALT who was quite frankly useless.
Apparently my DD's concentration span and social skills are too poor for her to do ANY therapy with. But anyway, that's a whole different topic and rant...
I'd be interested to see what others think. My DD is 2yr8m and has just had her initial SALT assessment. Both the SALT and nursery think it may be ASD and we are waiting for an appointment with CAMHS. I have had concerns for the last six months. She used to babble lots and say some words, then regressed. She used to be really into spinning wheels (turning cars upside down) but has grown out of this. She likes playing with things, but it's not really pretend play. She does love being surrounded by other children, has great eye contact (even with strangers such as the SALT) and a great bond with us. I initiative an imaginative game where I pretend a cardboard tube is a trumpet and she can imitate that.
She does squeal a lot when excited and hand flaps too. She babbles incessantly. I am assuming no hearing sound as she does note-perfect rendition of nursery rhymes, just humming/bubbling and a few words here and there, with all the actions.
Could this be ASD or could low iron have impaired her development? She used to have lots of fortified milk but aged 2 she went off it. We don't eat red meat or pulses at home.
I am hoping that as this week she starts fulltime nursery we may see an improvement of some sort, but don't know what to expect now. Finding life very hard, not much of a support network near us, feeling confused and sad.
Also she has never pointed, and she has very bad concentration skills - she likes to pass the pages off a book quite quickly, for example.
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