As speech and language therapists we need to look at a toddler who isn't talking to determine whether we think it is delayed or disordered language or whether we need to refer on for further assessment. Remember, it doesn't have to be ASD, as there are so many more children with speech, language and communication difficulties than children with ASD. What are the red flags we are concerned about?......
Eye Contact and Eye Gaze – difficulty paying attention to faces and following your point after 12 months
Responding to their Name – inconsistent responding to own name most of the time by 12 months
Pointing to or Showing Objects of Interest – does not point or show objects to others by 15 months
Pretend Play – does not demonstrate how familiar objects are used by 15 months and doesn’t show true “pretending” in play such as feeding a baby doll or using one object to represent another object by 24 months
Imitation – does not watch other people to copy their actions and body movements such as waving; does not imitate sounds and words by 16 to 18 months
Nonverbal Communication – does not understand and use a variety gestures by 16 months; displays “flat” affect or limited facial expressions or body language
Language Development – exhibits delays and differences in both language comprehension and expression as compared to same age peers; may talk but not communicate with others. Expressive skills may be at a higher developmental level
than receptive skills in autism.
If you are concerned about your child, please see a speech and language therapist, as early intervention is really important!