Communication Delay in Children with Autism
While communication or speech delay is common in children with autism, it is also common in children with other developmental conditions as well as neurotypical children—that is, children who do not have autism or related conditions. Speech delay related to autism, however, has distinct features which distinguish it from other types of speech or communication delays.
Long before a neurotypical infant learns to speak, they begin finding ways to communicate. Even babies with speech delays who are not on the autism spectrum will babble, gesture, make eye contact, and attempts to mimic and interact with others. Neurotypical children are highly socially motivated, and naturally responsive to social cues, even at an early age.
Infants and young children with autism, however, are unlikely to be motivated by social responses, and may be delayed in nonverbal communication as well as verbal communication. Common signs of autism related to communication delay include:
- Not responding to their name being called
- Delays in, absence of, or inability to understand nonverbal gestures like pointing, smiling or pulling
- Delayed speech or absence of speech
- Repetition of single words or phrases without intent to communicate
- Inability to maintain focus on parents or caregivers for more than a few seconds
Hearing loss, apraxia of speech, challenges related to motor skills or cognition, and other conditions can account for some of these delays individually, but if a child demonstrates several of them, evaluation for autism spectrum disorder is advised.
- Autism Facts and Statistics
- Autism Risk Factors for Children
- Frequently Asked Questions About Autism
- Signs of Autism in Children
- ADHD Behavior in Autism
- Anxiety in Children with Autism
- Behavioral Problems in Children with Autism
- Challenges with Social Interaction in Children with Autism
- Communication Delay in Children with Autism
- Developmental Delays in Children with Autism
- Emotional Problems in Autism
- Fixations vs Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children with Autism
- Health Issues Co-Occurring with Autism
- Potty Training in Children with Autism
- Sensory Processing Issues in Children with Autism
- Stimming, Motor Tics, or Repetitive Behavior in Autism
- What is Autism in Children?
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