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will my asd son ever start talking?

(85 Posts)
jilly78 Wed 09-Jul-08 17:12:39

my ds is 2y10m and is still completely non verbal. i know speech delay is very common in autism. will he always be non verbal or will he eventually start talking? if your dc had speech delay what age did they satrt to talk?

TearsofaPersonalClown Wed 09-Jul-08 17:17:41

Can't shut mine up now!! Ds is 6 and can chat for England.
A conversation is still almost impossible as it's mostly babble but when he's asking for things, explaining etc He's crystal clear.

I doubt my Ds will ever be able to hold a proper conversation but he's learning enough to get him by.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 17:49:08

No way of knowing. My 9 year old autistic son doesn't speak. At 2 we thought he would (in fact we were told that anything that he had wrong with him was very mild and he definitely wasn't autistic hmm) What I can tell you is that it becomes less important to you as they get older.

I don't think ds1 will ever be able to speak. He's been trying since he lost words & sounds before the age of 2, he just can't do it. We've started to try and teach him to type instead. I think this is going to be an increasingly important intervention over the next few years. It's really taking off now.

pagwatch Wed 09-Jul-08 17:50:12

lost all speech at 2 . regained at 4.
Personally i thought EFAs played a big role in that.
In fact I think change of diet helped but starting EFAs took him from sounds to words and short sentences.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 17:55:43

Some of it will depend why your child doesn't speak. The following paragraph relates to children older than 2. If it's because of motor planning problems then it's less likely they will speak. If they only make vowel sounds and no consonants (as ds1 does) then it's very unlikely. (If they make no sounds at all I'd say it was more likely - just need to watch to see which sounds come in when they do). Being unable to produce consonants and only vowels seems to be a common feature of many children/adults who remain non-verbal.

Having said all that I wouldn't be drawing any conclusions at 2. I've seen children of that age shoot on in development and go on to do really well.

cyberseraphim Wed 09-Jul-08 17:58:54

It's one of these crystal ball questions - which I used to ask a lot when DS1 was that age. He started to speak at 3.6 but in a way the problems and the questions just move on - 'Will he ever speak normally?'' and so on. How does he communicate now?

CaptainPlump Wed 09-Jul-08 18:00:47

My DS (aged 4 and 8 months) never developed any language, but with intensive ABA he's learned to say a few words. He can request the things he really needs and he can label some colours and animals and body parts, but if you don't know him you wouldn't know what he was saying. For a while I didn't think he'd ever say anything meaningfully so I'm grateful for every single thing he says now, however poorly enunctiated. Still, I have my doubts as to whether he'll ever be able to string a complicated sentence together, let alone have a conversation.

TotalChaos Wed 09-Jul-08 18:02:58

I have a friend whose DS with ASD didn't have any speech at all until he was 5. His speech and writing are pretty OK now (he is in m/s, main problems seem to be social rather than academic).

MannyMoeAndJack Wed 09-Jul-08 18:09:51

My ds is 5.5yrs old and non-verbal.

He babbled plenty at 9mths but didn't progress.

>> Being unable to produce consonants and only vowels seems to be a common feature of many children/adults who remain non-verbal.

That's interesting because my ds produces lots of consonants; b, g and m mainly and I guess you could interpret one of two of his many sounds as vowels BUT my prediction is that he will never speak. He also has SLD but can climb amazingly well and has great spatial awareness (climbs outside equipment but rarely falls or slips). Not sure what all that means though!

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 18:27:08

ds1 can climb really well as well (frighteningly so). He can;t however make a tight point with his index finger (he can with his middle, or he can point with his index and his other fingers dropping down). He used to do things like try and lie on his back but end up on his front.

ds1 can produce b, d and m and g I think-although not on command ' do this ba' for example and we get 'ya'. but he can sit in the bath and say bababababa

I thought his speech might kick in when he learned to imitate but he hasn't widened his speech sound repertoire at all and it's been a year and half since he learned to imitate.

He has the intonation- can intonate entire sentences. 'ay ya ya yan' is turn the light on for example said with the correct intonation. But too many sounds are missing.

MannyMoeAndJack Wed 09-Jul-08 18:40:29

My ds has never even got to the imitation stage and I believe, never will as his LD are too severe. He has never copied anything but has formed points in the past (never at anything or to communicate, it was something he did in a random way for a brief period). He can do most physical things but cannot pedal a bike/trike.

pagwatch Wed 09-Jul-08 18:48:35

Ds's speech is often rote- he applies learned words and phrases to suit his situation.Often phrases are derived from me, school and tv/film
Still talks in third person a lot.
And is echolaic - which is why his use of "asshole !" is very american grin

PeachyBAHonsBirthdayGirl Wed 09-Jul-08 18:51:07

ds3 started proper talking at 3-4. its still (he's 5 in a fortnight) hard to understand Aand limited but its getting better

i know its hard, you just have to hope really. pecs seemed to help ds

otoh ds1 was rated 16-21 age ability at 5, apparently barely talks at school and not much here now either at 8.5

PeachyBAHonsBirthdayGirl Wed 09-Jul-08 18:52:51

ds3 points with middle finger

ds1 doesnt point much, when we point we often have to remind him to look down the arm.... etc

ds2 points badly as well, is nt but being assessed next year at school dyspraxia

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 19:18:32

Manny- I honestly never thought that ds1 would never imitate. He just 'got it' aged 7 and a half.

cyberseraphim Wed 09-Jul-08 19:24:18

DS1 (ASD) has always pointed normally - I can't see that much difference to the way that DS2 (NT) points anyway.

MannyMoeAndJack Wed 09-Jul-08 19:41:01

Well I live in hope but all bets are off atm - he is just too severe I think. Let's say I'm agnostic on this one. I'll report back in 2 years!!

misscutandstick Wed 09-Jul-08 19:42:42

DS1 is 15 and has ADHD, looking back through my memories and video footage he had an awful lot of ASD traits - endless hours of 'setting things up' and examining each blade of grass and completely missing the roaring tiger stood in front of him, food exclusions to the point of being down to 3 items by the time he was 2.6, his language also was poor.

At the time i didnt think much of it, he babbled at the right time and did all his milestones early (sat alone by 5mths, walked at 10mths, missed out crawling altogether ^red flag if only id known^ , He was very advanced, as far as i knew. Then at 18mths when he'd managed a few words: mum, gamma, ganda, fitch (fish), we moved house and lived on our own... and he stopped EVERYthing, speech, smiling, playing... everything, he literally lived in a world of his own - i blamed myself, of course i would what had i done to this poor affected gifted child???

Anyhoo, to the point

he went for the very occasional speech therapy when he was 4, but it didnt help. He started to regain words again at about 3, but they were so poor anyone else but us couldnt tell a word he was saying. He only talked in odd words (with bits missing) and suffered terribly with echolalia (but didnt know it at the time). It drove me insane - he couldnt tell what he wanted but copied me endlessly. his speech did get better eventually... by around 5yrs. He can hold a conversation now, but often uses the wrong words, and is useless with intonation. At 15, i guess thats what hes got for life.

In short at 3 only echolalia, at 5 scrappy but barely understandable 3 or 4 word sentences that got his meaning across. and with progression to what we have now - conversation but with odd wording, and strange intonation. And if you're bored with the conversation he has to have it pointed out!

sorry to ramble, just had a lightbulb moment...

Davros Wed 09-Jul-08 20:11:38

Like Jimjams we gave up on "speech" some years ago as DS just can't do it and I agree that it becomes less important to you (he is nearly 13). BUT we have worked very hard to help DS communicate. I know many children with ASD who can "say words" but not what most people would call speaking. You should work hard early on to help your DS develop speech and use all and any communication strategies to support speech and in case he doesn't develop speech, you need something to fall back on. But please don't make it your one and only goal and get desperate about it (easier said than done I know). As I said before, I know many children with ASD who can say words and a few who are completely verbal but have great difficulty communicating and being understood iyswim. Have you been on an NAS Earlybird course? I gather that this could help you although they didn't have them in our day.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 20:26:50

I've been where you are Manny. DS1 was always a whole level of whatever worse than the other kids I saw. It became more even when he moved to an SLD/PMLD school which helped. He still is more affected than the kids of friend's I see regularly, but he has made progress that I really wouldn't have thought possible.

Have you read Lucy's Story by Lucy Blackman? I read it when ds1 was 5 and it really made me change the way I thought about ds1 and his LD's. Also have a look at this video. Many of the kids using this now were ones who hadn't responded to anything. In many cases were thought to have very severe LD's. Dov in the video clip hadn't really responded to any interventions until the typing (which he'd started 6 weeks before the clip). There's similar stuff on the HALO website

You may have seen it. But if you haven't I really think that this work offers those of us with severely affected children and those with LD's a real chance.

MannyMoeAndJack Wed 09-Jul-08 21:03:47

Thanks for the links - the video clip is great and shows what can be achieved by some kids.

My ds is a different kettle of fish! He won't sit for more than a few minutes, has poor concentration and is very, very inconsistent. He has never played with toys in a meaningful way (just bashing, mouthing, etc) and has very few interests/is hard to motivate so until these fundamentals change, then I really cannot see how he can progress.

Like I say, I'm agnostic with regards to his development....

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Wed 09-Jul-08 21:07:24

Honestly that's what ds1 was like. His ability to sit and attend developed with when we did the Growing Minds stuff when he was 7. But there are still days when he won't at all. He still doesn't play with toys and he still has few motivators.

Dov in the video is far calmer than ds1 usually is. But I've seen videos of children who are not remotely passive make progress settle down and do it as well.

Hecate Wed 09-Jul-08 21:15:12

ds1 was 5 when he started talking. He is now 9 and talks like a 3 or 4 year old, I'm told - I find it hard to estimate these things - (but it's music to my ears I can tell you, it's like shakespeare! grin ) His language is now developing what seems like DAILY and sometimes he chatters away!! He is really doing well now. But he was mute for years, well, apart from the screaching!! grin

ds2 has always been very vocal but it's echolalic not communicative, iyswim. He is now 7 and it's only in the last few months that he has really started what I would think of as talking to you.

When he feels like it, that is! grin

They're both fecking noisy though!!!! grin

Seuss Wed 09-Jul-08 22:59:18

ds1: 'what you making mummy?'
me: 'vegetables for your tea'
ds1 'yuk!'

I was so proud!grin

My ds1 has had 'words' for years but lately at 8 he is really starting to communicate with them, a lot of it is kind of applied immitation but you can tell he's really trying. At 2/3 he really only had words as labels and only then if really pushed.

sphil Wed 09-Jul-08 23:06:10

Hecate grin I love your post!

At 2.10 DS2 could say the same 6 words he'd been able to say since he was 15 months, but those words had lost all their clarity (so 'jump' was 'ju' for example). He started using single words to request things at 4 after we introduced PECS. He's now 5.5 and still at mostly single word level, but his vocab has expanded and his words are much more clearly and fluently produced - he now says 'jump' again! He has the odd learned two word phrase but never puts two words togther flexibly iyswim - he says 'wash hands' and 'change nappy' but not 'want biscult' or 'see dog' for example. He has JUST started naming things he sees VERY occasionally. Usually 'birds' and 'raining'grin. I have no idea how his speech will progress - we seem to have been at single word level for ages but there is progress so I suppose I should be optimistic. But I find it very very hard to ever imagine him chatting.

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