When did your child with *classic* autism (not Asperger's) talk? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 12-03-2011, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son (who will be 3 in March) was just dx with autism. He has language but almost all of it is echolalia, although very recently the echolalia has diminished some and he said a few words in a more purposeful way. I am starting to wonder when he will really talk?? I asked his therapists at EI and of course they couldn't tell me but said he has "lots of language" (which still confuses me since he doesn't really talk conversationally). He can label and imitate words, but it's when he wants to and it's not very often. More often he speaks gibberish and squeals, etc. The words and phrases are peppered in once in a while.

 

His OT said there was a little girl who has ASD who had services through them at the same age as my son, and at the time she was only growling, she had no words. The OT recently ran into her and the little girl (who is now 6 years old) was talking up a storm!!!  A total chatterbox! :) So that gives me a lot of hope!!

 

What is the "typical" time a child with autism (who is not non-verbal, but who is language-delayed- in other words, not an aspie) start using language to really communicate and be able to ask questions and hold conversations?

 

 


Mommy to beauties DS1 (7), DS2 (4, autism), & DS3 (2)

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#2 of 20 Old 12-03-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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My neice is autistic and at your son's age was completely non-verbal.  She started with a few words at 4.5 years old and continued to progress from there.  She is now 12.5 years old and she is incredibly verbal and talks up a storm.  My nephew, her adopted brother, started talking at 3 but didn't progress past echolalia until he was about 7.  He said his first real sentence at 7 ("I love you baby broccoli" to a piece of his salad! lol).  He is 8.5 now and talking more but a lot of it is still repeating other people and repeating his own phrases over and over again.  All children with autism will vary, as will all neurotypical children.


Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#3 of 20 Old 12-04-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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DS has autism with hyperlexia.  Hyperlexia is a language disorder that combines early reading with great difficulties in using verbal language. We stared the diagnostic process when he was 2yrs 7mos and got the official diagnosis a week after he turned 3. He's now 7.

 

When we started the diagnostic process, DS had no verbal words. He was reading and could spell.  He also had a signing vocabulary of about 200 words.  Most of his signing was labeling and otherwise scripted.  Soon after he started talking, but it was all echolalia and scripted speech.  He also spelled words out when talking and we had to teach him to talk in words instead of strings of letters.

 

The scripted speech phase lasted a very long time. It's really hard to judge exactly how long, because DS memorized so many scripts and was so good at using them that it was deceiving at times. We used his scripting to teach him appropriate responses in a variety of situations. He could combine scripts in unusual ways and from this we could understand just how differently he perceives and understands the world around him.

 

Around age 5 DS started asking questions, but he only asked things he already knew that answer to. We used to say that he was constantly administering quizzes, rather than asking for information. He could have very basic short conversations at this point. 

 

Around age 6.5, DS suddenly had a burst of more spontaneous language.  He started asking novel questions, talking about feelings, and saying things we had never heard before. 

 

Since then, his language continues to improve.  But it's still obvious that processing verbal language is very difficult for him.  Conversations do not come naturally at this point.  It's hard to give him verbal explanations or reasoning about some of his behavior issues. He's not the kind of kid we can discipline with talking methods. 

 

In a lot of ways, DS is like someone struggling to learn a difficult foreign language. (The written word is his native language and we make full use of this fact.)  DS gets overwhelmed by verbal language a lot and will ask us to stop talking. He can only absorb so much and can express less than what he takes in.  We continue to work on it at home and at school, but it's slow going. 


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Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

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#4 of 20 Old 12-04-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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My son has classic autism, and is suspected to be hyperlexic. He did not say his first "word" until 2 years 5 months (after 5 months of ST) and his language still consists of I'd say 60-70% echolalia at close to 4. He does not really speak unless spoken to and most of the time it is scripted or memorized. I hear him talking almost constantly, but he is reciting a movie or book he knows, and if asked a question he will often answer but the answer is't appropriate for the context. It takes several times of me asking or rephrasing to get an appropriate response. 


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#5 of 20 Old 12-04-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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to the OP: 

 

My DD is 4.5 and is starting to use more language, in more functional ways, though there is still a lot of non-language noises, scripted speech, and some echolalia/mimicking (at her whim, yes wink1.gif). It's a progression that is thankfully moving forward, but regretfully at a pace we don't have control over. She's in charge (of her own development, that is)! We just delight in each new development. As an example, last week she said, "Help! Help! Help!" and motioned to try and pull her pants down (she's anti-pants and wants them off ASAP as soon as daycare is done). I started to help her and she said, "Bye bye purple pants" - that was a big victory in my book - asking for help and describing what she wanted. My two cents: Hang in there and try to keep an open and hopeful mind/heart... Once I let go of timeframes, things got easier and I found myself being pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed. 

 

To Lollybrat: This was helpful for me to read! My DD also has some high frequency hearing loss, and we tried signing for a while but she never really took to it. Verbal language is a not a big draw for her, and her receptive capacity definitely exceeds her expressive capacity. She's shown a strong fascination for letters over the last 6 months and seems to be getting the idea behind reading. It's a new concept for me to consider that *written* language might be a first language - but it's a helpful concept because that may be the communication medium that works best for her. Thanks for sharing your DS's story! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollybrat View Post

In a lot of ways, DS is like someone struggling to learn a difficult foreign language. (The written word is his native language and we make full use of this fact.)  DS gets overwhelmed by verbal language a lot and will ask us to stop talking. He can only absorb so much and can express less than what he takes in.  We continue to work on it at home and at school, but it's slow going. 



 


Mama to my talkaholic DS (Oct 2003) and my climbaholic DD (May 2007).
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#6 of 20 Old 12-08-2011, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post

My neice is autistic and at your son's age was completely non-verbal.  She started with a few words at 4.5 years old and continued to progress from there.  She is now 12.5 years old and she is incredibly verbal and talks up a storm.  My nephew, her adopted brother, started talking at 3 but didn't progress past echolalia until he was about 7.  He said his first real sentence at 7 ("I love you baby broccoli" to a piece of his salad! lol).  He is 8.5 now and talking more but a lot of it is still repeating other people and repeating his own phrases over and over again.  All children with autism will vary, as will all neurotypical children.


Thanks for this!!! It helps so much to hear stories like this! :))

 


Mommy to beauties DS1 (7), DS2 (4, autism), & DS3 (2)

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#7 of 20 Old 12-08-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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Mine said his 1st true word, well words right before his 4th birthday. I will never forget it, and typing it now, still brings tears to my eyes. It was the day before Easter and we were having new carpet put in. All the furniture was in the driveway, and Corey loved to be rocked. Having such a disruption at our home was REALLY hard on him. So I sat with him in the rocking chair in the yard and sang to him. When I started singing "twinkle twinkle" he started to sing along, and sang the whole song with me. I wanted to shout from the rooftops, but I sat there and kept singing softly as tears ran down my face. Oh how far we have come from that day. Corey has progressed amazing amounts. He has friends, goes to cub scouts alone, and will talk your ear off about any of his favorite subjects.


*~Kelly~*
 Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~

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#8 of 20 Old 12-08-2011, 01:47 PM
 
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My nephew was speaking well by two, but it wasn't conversational speech.  Just parroting.  He taught himself to read at age four, then would repeat EVERYTHING he read.  Over and over and over.  He memorized all the tags off of the Beanie Babies, and recited them non stop.  But, by age five, he would start off with "Do you want Goldie?"  (the beanie baby) and you HAD to answer "yes", or he'd keep asking.  When you did answer "yes", he'd say "Too bad... Goldie retired" then he'd recite the information off the tag.

 

He's 24 now, and still memorizes information to the word, but doesn't have an actual conversation.  Although, he can answer some questions if he's in the mood.  

 

He actually has a really good job working for the dept of transportation, and he makes the grids for all the stop lights in town.  He's awesome at it.

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#9 of 20 Old 12-08-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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@nextcommercial That is very fascinating. Glad to hear he has a great job! (Sounds like a job my son would be very good at!) Very curious to know if he is able to live by himself and take care of himself properly. Thanks!

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#10 of 20 Old 12-10-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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@nextcommercial That is very fascinating. Glad to hear he has a great job! (Sounds like a job my son would be very good at!) Very curious to know if he is able to live by himself and take care of himself properly. Thanks!

He lives in an assisted living condo with other adults.  He has his own small apartment, but uses the shuttle to go shopping.... well, actually he refuses to go shopping, but there's a shuttle available.   My sister in law usually does all of his shopping.

 

His biggest problem is online shopping. LOL.  He'll buy video games and maps online and spend all of his money on maps.  He has an account for spending, and an account his parents control and use for his actual bills.  He never overdrafts, and can tell you exactly how much is in his account, but, he never uses it wisely.  

 

I'm actually extremely proud of him.  He still flips out if someone is late picking him up for work.  He won't miss work even if he's sick, and will have a meltdown if he's asked to leave before his normal time.  He has to be driven the same route every day, and will have a bad day, if the route has to change.  But, otherwise, he's amazing.
 

 

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#11 of 20 Old 12-11-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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dbl post

 

 

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#12 of 20 Old 12-11-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

One nephew (age 12) has echolalia, speaks on topic (usually one sentence or less) with some frequency to his parents, and will speak on topic to others when he is stressed.

 

The other nephew, age 9, is non verbal.

 

 



 

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#13 of 20 Old 10-01-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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This brought tears to my eyes.  My son is 3 years old and still has no language other than 2 or three words.  I can't imagine how it will be when I hear him speak for the first time.  Thank you.

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#14 of 20 Old 10-01-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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Post deleted redface.gif- I have already answered.  It is an older thread.  Serves me right for not reading it all. 

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#15 of 20 Old 10-08-2012, 04:20 AM
 
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I work with (for LOL) a ten year old with autism.  He is nonverbal, but he can read.  He doesn't read books, but he can read words or short phrases that interest him.  So he shows me words or pictures on his computer or camera so I can write them for him.  He gets really excited over these written words.  He knows their use and their value.  If I happen to write a new word for him, he does an internet search for pictures of it.  He can surf the web by clicking links and sometimes types the first few letters and chooses what he wants from the drop-down menu.  It seems like he will eventually be able to type as a way of communicating.  Right now he just looks up things that he likes--cartoon characters, store names, etc.

 

I've been writing phrases and sentences for him to expand ideas from just one word, and he seems to like it and understand it.  I'm not sure if anyone has tried pushing him that far in school.  I wonder if sometimes people expect too little of him. 


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#16 of 20 Old 10-08-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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I've been writing phrases and sentences for him to expand ideas from just one word, and he seems to like it and understand it.  I'm not sure if anyone has tried pushing him that far in school.  I wonder if sometimes people expect too little of him. 

In the school my nephews attend they won't even work on anything academic until they have mastered "compliance."  They are 10 and 13.  As they have not mastered compliance, the school has not helped them progress in any way.  The young guy you work with is very lucky to have you.  


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#17 of 20 Old 10-08-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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My DS is 4 and still not talking - other than 'duck' which is certainly an odd word to use!!! He has learned over 100 signs and uses them to communicate wtih us and his teachers, so he doesn't have frustration over not communicating. While I truly hope he will learn to use his voice one day, I am preparded to go the full journey into the ASL world if that is where we end up.
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#18 of 20 Old 10-09-2012, 04:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

In the school my nephews attend they won't even work on anything academic until they have mastered "compliance."  They are 10 and 13.  As they have not mastered compliance, the school has not helped them progress in any way.  The young guy you work with is very lucky to have you.  


I also disagree with that school's philosophy.  Is it like that in every special ed class?  It does not sit well with me to withhold a useful form of language.  They used to discourage deaf children from using signing (Mr. Holland's Opus) because it made them look, pardon the word, 'retarded'.  Everyone has the human right to find/use their own voice.  As a child, I struggled with speaking, so I have a visceral reaction to the feeling of not having a voice.  I have no idea how you could expect to teach a child that you are withholding communication skills from. 


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#19 of 20 Old 10-12-2012, 11:25 AM
 
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I haven't read through the entire thread yet as I am just exhausted (up all night with DD).  I did want to reply to the OP though, that I don't think there is an "average" or "standard" anything when it comes to kids with Autism, so I don't know that you'll find a good answer for what to expect.  That is one of the harder things I think, about being a parent of a child with Autism. You kinda have to live day to day.  My daughter is 11 and has about a 30 word vocabulary.  I know many others though who are much more verbal. I know some who are much less verbal.  It all depends on that child's unique experiences and needs.

 

I think that what the school may be referring to when they say he has "a lot of language" is that he *can* say words, even if they are echolalic.  Being able to verbalize words is a huge skill that not a lot of kids with classic Autism have.  That's one less barrier to meaningful communication.  A lot of children who do use echolalia to speak learn to put those words and phrases to meaning in a cause/effect kind of way (positive ABA is a great way to teach this). My daughter uses echolalia at times and we have slowly worked with her to give those words and phrases meaning that help us help her.  For example, one of the things she says clear as a bell is, "are you ok?"  We were able to work with her over time so she now uses that phrase (that was previously just her copying us) to tell us when she doesn't feel good or has an owie. 
 

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#20 of 20 Old 10-21-2012, 02:54 AM
 
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Reading this makes me tear up! My son is 3 and I long to hear him call me mom!!! I too wonder when he will talk. I sometimes fear he will be nonverbal!
 

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