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Autism or Verbal dyspraxia Experts confused and so am I

(12 Posts)
adrianna1 Tue 11-Feb-14 21:18:28

Hi, I have a four year old son who has a severe speech delay.

He has been assessed for ASD and this is inconclusive, having a re-assessment this year.

When reading about the symptoms of verbal dyspraxia, I thought "Oh my goodness, it sounds like my son". I mentioned this to my speech therapist but she didn't think he had it or it is hard to assess as my son has limited language.

However, a specialist speech therapy...she's is not specialised in speech impairments...but she's a specialist in something. Anyway, the specialist was brought over to see if the lack of speech is because my son may have verbal dyspraxia. She then told me it was hard to see, but said I should concentrate on the autism. As kids with verbal dyspraxia don't have delays in attention and listening, play and social interaction skills. Just speech. But, when reading some of the comments from mothers whose kids have verbal dyspraxia...they did have delays around these areas that I talked about. Maybe I'm wrong.

The specialist also said that she could see things in my son which is suggestive of autism but see things that are not. So after seeing my son on that one session of speech therapy..she thinks that his issues could be because he has autism.

This is so confusing..every time the professionals see my son for the first time..they think "ok..he may likely have autism"... but when the spend time with my son, or see him once every week for 6 months..their opinion changes.

Here is a list of symptoms of my son, if you think he has an overall issue effected if he does have autism..or could this be because of speech:

1. Has good functional play skills, quite good imaginary play skills..though imaginary play is delayed as it needs to develop further.

2. Has good joint attention skills

3. Eats a wide range of food..though takes him about 4 days to like a new food.

4. Uses non- verbal communication to communicate..has over 30 made up signs/ gestures to communicate.

5. Says about 15 words... only says two of the words correctly.

6. Seems to interact with me a lot better than to other people.

7. Even though he has good eye contact..this again is not consistent with other people..but with me is ok.

8. Is always asking me to play with him, asking for help.

9. Not sure about road danger..but he would not go near things that are hot

10. Stims when excited, angry

11. Does not sit down in carport time, unless he likes the activity

12. wanders

13. Understands way more than he can speak

14. Gropes mouth when attempting to speak

15. Is very good at imitating actions not words.

16. Babbles a lot, like he having a conversation with me..or if he is telling me something.

17. Shows me things that he is interested in.

18. A little bit repetitive in his play

19. Has no routine, obsessions issues

20. Likes a variety of toys.

21. Seems to go from one toy to the next..sometimes he would make a mess

22. Communicates using expressions... sounds gestures i.e. him feeling me he wants to play with the rocket is...hand up in the air, swivelling around while he makes rocket launch noise.

23.Does have stranger danger also if I'm out of sight he would follow me

24. Come to me if his hurt or if I'm sad.

25. If there is an argument in the house, he will jolt up upstairs to where the argument is...he is quite weird with his reaction..he would sometimes act scared...laugh..or cling onto the person who is getting attacked int he argument.

26. Has good interaction with a stranger...but takes him a while to feel comfortable with the person.

27. Makes noises when playing so if blocks fall down..he would say "oooooooh wooaah".

28. Has good self care skills..toilet trained..dressing up etc.

29. Has some friends at nursery...

Theres more but can't think right now.

Is the specialist right..should I just focus on the autism and dismiss for now the verbal dyspraxia..

Does it sound like more if my son has autism, speech delay or verbal dyspraxia

adrianna1 Tue 11-Feb-14 21:31:47


adrianna1 Wed 12-Feb-14 00:18:52


Adamsapple Wed 12-Feb-14 01:30:10

Hi Adrianna, I didn't want you to be unanswered.
My son was diagnosed with autism and verbal dispraxia when he was 3. He was totally non verbal till four and a half but he signed from 18 months - a combination of makaton and made up signs and was very fluent.
Now aged 6 he never stops talking and most people can understand most of what he says. Also he often still signs as he talks.

My son was the opposite to yours - when professionals first met him they didn't see the autism but after a while with ds, it becomes obvious.

I'm sure someone will be along in the morning to give you some advice.
I just understand how difficult it is when you know something is wrong and you have to fight to get the help and support your child needs. Good luck.

sittinginsilence Wed 12-Feb-14 08:15:18

Hi Adrianna,
You could be describing my DD. We are currently waiting for SALT and OT to conduct more oral motor assessments as the psychologists are so baffled by our DD as for every ASD trait she has, she can contradict it. They won't diagnose ASD at the moment as they aren't convinced but cannot assess her further without more speech.
I am 99% convinced she is verbally dyspraxic but having a hard time getting anyone to listen or look at that specifically.
Unfortunately, I have no advise for you - for us it's hopefully going in the right direction and the focus has shifted from her social interaction to her oral motor function, but for now we are still in the assessment process (and currently on a waitlist for OT sad )
If you feel they should investigate it - keep pushing x

confusedofengland Wed 12-Feb-14 08:44:16

Watching as you have described to a t my ds2, age 2.10

adrianna1 Wed 12-Feb-14 13:07:07


I am experiencing the exact same thing!

Yes every autistic trait that my son has, they can contradict it. Thats what my specialist said.

adrianna1 Wed 12-Feb-14 13:09:04


Why is your daughter getting OT? Is this because of her motor skills, or something else?

sittinginsilence Wed 12-Feb-14 13:41:29

The psychologists have recommended that the SALT and OT assess her together as the few words that she does try very obviously takes effort to produce the sounds. SALT has done some oral motor assessments but (I assume!) OT can do more - focussing on the functionality involved in making sound. Her tongue movement is restricted - suspected tie at birth but nothing was ever done about it and she fed well so was not brought up again and now dismissed when we raise it :S
She also has oral sensory issues - likes to chew objects, nails, hair - we've been trying her with chewing jewellry which has helped. Some food issues - texture, food packing when she eats.
Hoping OT will also look at some fine motor skill issues she has - like pencil holding and cultery - she can use them just not always "correctly". And looking for assessing her attention - can be fidgety at story time in nursery - I've been looking into bear hug jackets and wobble cushions but am hesitant to buy when I hope OT can loan to her and she what works before we commit.
And all of the above I have researched links to verbal dyspraxia - mouth sensory issues, attention, fidgeting, fine motor issues.
It's a minefield! Feel free to message me if you like - I find it's nice to know you're not alone :D

adrianna1 Wed 12-Feb-14 15:29:21


I did not know OT can work on speech sounds. I thought they mainly worked on gross and fine motor skills!! Can OT work on attention skills too?

My DS would totally benefit from OT! I am going to look into this.

sittinginsilence Thu 13-Feb-14 07:31:31

I hope so as that's what my DD is being referred to OT for smile
I think they can work with the Educational Psychologist in regard to attention and implementing strategies to focus her. Although our Ed Psych has backed off from us as our DD has no issues academically so I'm not sure how it is all going to connect together :S

adrianna1 Thu 13-Feb-14 20:57:36


Well luckily I had a meeting with OT and she told me that my son would not qualify as he is too good with his self care skills and has little sensory issues.

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