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Parents of children with autism have reported late talking as a concern, but a language delay is not directly linked to autism. In this blog, we'll explore the difference between developmental language disorder vs autism.
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is defined as the diagnosis given to an individual who has difficulty with spoken and/or understanding language. It's also commonly known as an expressive-receptive language disorder. Whereas autism (ASD) can be defined as when an individual has developmental differences in their brain. Autism can include difficulties with social communication and/or interaction, and restricted/repetitive interests or behaviors. Children with DLD generally present difficulties with their communication ability, whereas children with ASD show additional difficulties with their social interaction ability.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been detected in children at 18 months old or younger. By the age of 2, a diagnosis by a professional can be given (Lord et al, 2006). Children who do not receive their diagnosis at this age will miss out on early intervention and the support they need to achieve their communicative potential. However, early identification is not always essential. It is only useful if it is used to guide early intervention programs, parent education, and access support from health and education services for the child and their family. Check out our early intervention blog here!
Children with speech delays are able to communicate their wants and needs through non-communicative ways e.g. pointing, and eye contact. However, an autistic child will have ongoing problems with delayed and disordered language, and social communication skills regardless of developmental age (Charman & Baird, 2002).
If you have concerns with your autistic child who is not speaking, there is evidence to show that with intervention autistic children aged four and five, were able to make improvements in their language with 70% of children creating simple sentences (Wodka, 2013).
Monitoring your child’s developmental milestones is a great way to track their progress and to see if further assessment is required. If your child is not reaching their milestones, contact your GP with your concerns. See our communication milestone blog here! It is important to note here that autistic children may reach their developmental milestones at any age and do not follow the typical child development pattern.
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