I have a child who is going to be six in May. He is on the autism spectrum. My question is how can I define if he is non verbal or only speech delayed . He speaks words only and communicate his need at one word level . Is he considered a non verbal autistic child and is there any hope he may develope languauge in later age? Thoughts are appreciated.

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Jenna - posted on 04/02/2012

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Definitely work toward vocal words, but also try and use things like Makaton signing, or PECS cards. PECS cards are fantastic and can be very helpful. Communication is just as important (if not more) than actual speaking. In my opinion anyway.

It's hard to tell whether your son is not wanting to speak or is unable to speak.

Speech delay - inability to speak

Non-verbal - doesn't know how to or doesn't want to



Good luck, there's a few good groups on facebook for parents of kids with autism... like

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aussie-Pa...

Sol4J - posted on 04/02/2012

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I am glad you've reached out to connect with other parents regarding your son. Your concern for him shows that you are a great mom! Just wanted to point you toward some relevant information that you may find helpful. During my time with Focus on the Family, I came across this Q&A http://bit.ly/GzwA1R that talks about autism. In addition, there is a good book titled, The Autistic Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Helping Your Child, by Lorna Wing, M.D. You can also ask for one of our counselors, if you prefer one on one help. Feel free to give them a call, at no cost to you. Meanwhile, please know that I'm praying for you. God bless!

Marlena - posted on 04/01/2012

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I have that issue as well. English is my native tongue, but we are living in Germany, so my kids are having to learn German as first language and English as second. I can speak a fair amount of German and understand almost everything that is said to me, but when two languages are introduced to a child with autism, it can take twice as long. It can be really hard watching kids struggle to explain even simple things like what they want to drink. My son still has issues with this, but I found that it helps to limit their language to specific activities. I speak 95% of the time German with the kids, they hear English in movies and from their relatives on my side of the family, but they are learning that there is a time for English and a time for German. When you try to limit it like that, they pick up more and don't seem to get so confused. I will try to think of some other tricks I use with my son in the language department and post them here, probably a little later on today.

Lubna - posted on 04/01/2012

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Thank you very much for the advice . God bless our children. It just breaks my heart watching him struggle to let me understand him , otherwise he is the sweetest boy ever. It is also more challenging for him because our native language is not English so he is exposed to two languages besides his autism related speech delay . Thank you again

Marlena - posted on 03/31/2012

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If your son is able to communicate his needs, even though it may be one word at a time, I would not classify him as non verbal just yet. My son is also on the spectrum, but has started talking a little more thanks to his big sister. He can now say short sentences like : What are you doing?. He will be turning 6 in October. Language is a tricky thing, but I would not give up hope on it. I think the best thing you could do is just talk to your son when watching tv, reading books, cooking, or doing anything really. Just point out everything and give it a name. He may not always repeat it, I'm still trying to get mine to say chocolate, but he may say it in time if you keep working with him. It just takes a lot of patience.

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