Each child with autism has different communication skills. Some children may have relatively good verbal skills, with only a slight language delay. Whereas others may be not speak at all or have limited ability or interest in communicating and interacting with others. About 40% of children with autism do not talk at all. Another 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Other children may speak, but not until later in childhood.Children with autism who do speak may use language in unusual ways. They may not be able to combine words into meaningful sentences. Some children with autism speak only single words, while others repeat the same phrases over and over. Some children repeat what others say. The repeated words might be said right away or at a later time. Although many children without autism go through a stage where they repeat what they hear, it normally passes by age 3. Some children with autism can speak well but may have a hard time listening to what other people say.
Children with autism may have a hard time using and understanding gestures, body language, or tone of voice. Also, facial expressions, movements, and gestures may not match what they are saying. Their voices might sound flat, robot-like, or high-pitched. Children with autism might stand too close to people they are talking to, or might stick with one topic of conversation for too long. They might talk a lot about something they really like, rather than have a back-and-forth conversation with someone. Some children with relatively good language skills speak like little adults, failing to pick up on the “kid-speak” that is common in their peers.
Entry Filed under: Signs of Autism