Originally Posted by mambera
I hate to say this, but language *regression* is concerning.
By itself, I don't think the fact that this child is not talking at 4 is out of the realm of normal - yeah it's really late but not necessarily indicative of an underlying disorder, especially given the trilingual thing.
But regression of existing language skills is more of a red flag for autism-spectrum or Rett's.
ITA with this one. If a child speaking one or several languages (doesn't matter) regresses, this can be a bad sign. The only exception is if there's been a big change in their life, i.e. a move or little sibling. That can cause a slight regression.
Actually, I know someone whose child was diagnosed late because they moved, had another baby and even I kept saying "Well of course he's delayed!" I later apologized but she assure me, saying there were other symptoms and worries that she didn't express to me. The late speaking was, in fact, one of the lesser
symptoms of the autism!
Please don't let your friend think that the autism was caused or made worse with the languages. Simply not true. The proof is her comprehension.
Funny you mention this because I invited a family over Monday. They're bilingual and one son is autistic. He speaks both and learned both late.
Would these children have spoken earlier if they hadn't had the other languages? Not sure but in the end, who cares. Switching languages or getting rid of one or two might be more disturbing than just keeping her life on the same track. It also might not be fair to ask a parent of a special needs child to communicate in a foreign language with his or her own child. Already, communication might be at a premium...
Just on a personal note, the fact that this child does try to communicate, even non-verbally, is a good sign. I have a (monolingual) autistic cousin. She's made amazing progress and will probably be able to get an education and make a living as an adult. We're all very proud of her. Personal interaction is where she needed the most work and while it's not entirely natural for her, she does really well now.
It's normal that parents feel guilty when something like this is discovered. They will hunt down a reason, something they did wrong, with vengeance, whatever it could possibly be. A glass of wine once while pregnant? The epi they had during the birth? Not reading enough to the child as a toddler? Trust me, she'd find something even if they all only spoke one language!