Speech delays and autism spectrum disorder can both impact language development. However, there are some notable differences between the two problems. Sometimes, speech delay is temporary and may even disappear on its own or with help from family and the SLP.
Symptoms of speech delay
|Sign of speech delay
|Not stringing together consonant-vowel combinations (e.g., “da” or “ma”), not using gestures like pointing and waving.
|Trouble imitating sounds; saying only a few words, not understanding what others say, and prefers to use gestures over vocalizing to communicate
|Difficulty understanding simple instructions, does not combine words together, uses fewer than 50 words and has trouble playing with and interacting with other children.
|Not speaking in brief, simple sentences; not using plural words or pointing out body parts.
|Unable to share a simple story or form sentences 4-5 words in length. Difficulty understanding pronouns, such as “you” and “me.”
There are different types of speech delay:
Speech delay vs Autism
|Speech delay is a problem where a child has difficulty developing speech and language skills.
|Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological disorder that affects social skills, learning, communication, language acquisition, and behavior.
|A child with a speech delay tends to naturally use body language and nonverbal communication skills. They have strong joint attention, eye contact and are properly able to use gestures, facial expressions and pointing to communicate.
|They have an impaired verbal and nonverbal communication skills. They have limited ability to use gestures, pointing, and facial expressions.
|Children with a speech delay seek out close personal relationships with their parents and peers, respond positively to attention, and mimic the behaviours of people around them.
|Autistic children may have trouble with social interaction, play skills, communication, behavior and may prefer to be alone. They have difficulty in forming relationships. They do not like to share and engage in social interaction.
|Children with autism may exhibit stereotypical and unusual acttions or narrow special interests, repetitive movements.
|Does not display significant sensory issues
|Frequently displays sensory skills
|Children with speech delays will often have difficulty producing specific speech sounds. Difficulty in producing speech.
|Autistic children may also have trouble making speech sounds, but they may also use persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia). Difficulties in understanding and producing speech.
|Typically responds to their name.
|Despite hearing their name, they do not respond.
The most common factors that can cause speech delay are:
It is important to note that children that have autism experience speech delay, but not all children with speech delay have autism.
Parent’s role in helping their child overcome speech delay
You have a unique and powerful role in helping your child overcome speech delays. By spending more time with your child, you not only deepen your bond but also apply the knowledge gained from therapists in a way that’s tailored to your child’s needs. Your intimate understanding of your child means you can integrate speech development strategies into their daily routine more effectively than anyone else. When you’re actively involved, your child has a better chance of overcoming speech delays compared to when parents take a more passive role. This is especially true for children with language impairments, autism, and developmental delays. They’ve shown significant progress when you, as a parent, are engaged and participating in their journey towards better speech. Your involvement is key to their success.
Parents can get involved in the therapy by:
When you’re involved, your child is more likely to demonstrate improved verbal and communication skills.
We invite you to deepen your understanding and effectiveness in this role by joining our “It Takes Two To Talk” workshop in Dubai at the Talking Brains Center. This workshop is specifically designed to equip you with practical strategies and insights to support your child’s communication journey. You’ll learn how to create a nurturing environment that promotes language development, tailored to your child’s unique personality and preferences.
By sharing insights about your child’s character and likes with our team, we can collaborate more effectively, ensuring that the strategies you learn are personalized and impactful. “It Takes Two To Talk” is more than a workshop; it’s a partnership between you, your child, and our team of experts, all dedicated to unlocking your child’s communication potential.
Join us and take an active step towards enriching your child’s communication skills. Together, we can make a significant difference in their ability to express themselves and interact with the world around them.