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Name: dianna
[ Original Post ]
I have a 4 yr old autistic son, he has words but none together and usually has to be prompted to say even those. Is there a chance he wikk still speak fine one day?
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Name: ltl | Date: Mar 25th, 2007 4:25 AM
Hi Dianna, I was told by a teacher who worked with autistic children that if a child has some words, that child has the laguage speaking ability and can expand their vocabularies with work and time. I'm encourage to see that your son has the language there as oppose to being nonverbal, so just hang in there and work with him. I was told by my son's speech therapist to talk, talk, and talk to him all day long...label everything adjectively and just keep talking and prompting him. It's lots of work I know, but it will pay off. :-) 

Name: dianna | Date: Mar 26th, 2007 3:08 AM
Hi Itl, thanks for your reply. Did she mean language as in some words here and there or do these children with a handful of words usually go on to talk talk...,,i.e. a conversation one day? And can a child who only has a handful of words stay that way throughout their life? 

Name: ltl | Date: Mar 27th, 2007 1:17 AM
Hi Dianne, being that your son is only 4 years old, as my son just turned 3 with some single words, they told me that he will talk as in conversation talk. The fact that they are so young and is "saying" words, it's a BIG plus. My son started out with 10 words 2 months prior to turning 3, and now 3 months later, he is saying at least 50 words and is starting to put 2 words together. He is in speech therapy AND school for autistic kids....this really helps. Also I was told to label all his actions and things, it's exhuasting, but when he says things out of the blue, I know he's listening. Dianne, I see the improvements and I really agree with the speech pathologist, the teacher in the autistic school, and the school psychologist in that if they can "say" words, it will get much better and eventually talk in conversations. :-) HANG IN THERE!! :-) 

Name: ltl | Date: Mar 27th, 2007 3:41 AM
Oh sorry Dianna, I don't think I quite answer your question. By "language", I do mean some words here and there. For the first 2 1/2 years of my son's life, he was quiet. In fact, the first year of his life, he did not babbled at all. He started to bable here and there after 2 years old, and at 29 months he finally said one real word, "car". Even after that, he also won't say those few 10 words until prompted to do so. Everyday I played silly and made him laugh, so during our silly fun play, I continually prompted him to speak. Since he had so much fun, he started to shout out more new words. It's ok if your son only talks when prompted, continue to prompt him and eventually he will spontanously speak his needs and wants. Also when I was talking about speaking in "conversations", I don't mean that these kids can speak mile long fluently, although some may, but others may speak sentences and hold conversations perhaps with some struggles but that they can engage in conversations. Dianna, I really believe that talking is a process. They start out with single words, then multiple words, then phrases, then naturally sentences. Therefore, I don't believe that a child only speaks a handful of words and remain only that throughout life. :-) Oh curiously, does your son say words that are sounded at the front and the back of his mouth. In other words, if he says "mom" that's using the front of the mouth, and if he says "car", that's using toward the back of the mouth. If he can say words that requires both using the front and the back of the mouth, then that's a BIG PLUS!!! Sorry for the long message. 

Name: dianna | Date: Mar 27th, 2007 5:24 PM
Hi ItI, once more, thanks for your reply. Yes, I guess he is using the back of his mouth to speak. I mean he can say "mama" and he could also say "cocoa", "mine", "please", "not nice", "papa", "tubbies", "hi" and "bye-bye"....he may say a few more but I cannot think of them at the moment. Is that also using the front and back of his mouth? Yes, I do realize it will be a process in talking,... almost as in stages. But just so he does it one day would be womderful. I think it'll open so many more doors of comprehension for him (at least I hope!) I am happy to hear your son is picking up. Talk to you soon. Dianna 

Name: missheather | Date: Mar 28th, 2007 12:36 AM
I work with a boy who didn't start talking until he was four. He is nine now and still has a long way to go as far as language, but he is talking better and better so I'm hopeful. 

Name: ConorsHelper | Date: Mar 28th, 2007 1:51 AM
Hi dianna,

I work with a little boy who is 4 years old. He speaks very rarely. Every word I heard him say was only once for months and he would never repeat it. The words I heard him saying had a variety of sounds so I knew he was capable. Mostly, he would go days and days without saying anything at all. Just these past few weeks he really seems to be trying out his words. Sometimes 5 words in one day. It's very exciting!

He was introduced to PECS this past September at CT School and I think that is really helping him. The video they sent home said that when children began using PECS as preschoolers, many of them are speaking in a few years. They have a website: http://www.pecs.com/

Also, I sing a lot. I sing my conversations to any tune that pops in my head. And I found the book: The Hidden Child: The Linwood Approach for Reaching the Autistic Child to be a very valuable resource!

Mostly though...keep that line of communication with God wide open! He is a constant and sure resource!! : ) 

Name: rozella ely | Date: Apr 7th, 2007 12:50 AM
Hi Dianna,

My son was diagnosed with autism about 2 months ago at 6 years of age. He is a twin. He was born 8-3-00 and on 8-11-02 he had an adenoidectomy. He had 10 words of speech prior then after the surgery he didn't talk for 20 months. Consequently he started speaking at almost 4 years old. I will say that I enrolled him in an early intervention program that worked on fine motor and speech. Then he went to a center based special ed. preschool for 3 years prior to kindergarten. He had 1/2 hour of speech/OT/PT during the school week which first 2 years was a 1/2 day program 4 days a week and the 3rd year a whole day for 4 days. At 3 he started seeing a speech pathologist (private) speech once a week since he was three. He now sees a private OT person. Please if there is a special ed preschool, he will get therapy that he needs no cost to you. If you can afford private speech therapy (very expensive) some insurances will cover (all in the coding). Also, I am not sure where you are from but the autistic label enables our school district to receive $3,000 per student. This may be helpful for when your child transitions to the school age program. Sometimes, autistic kids will model other children which can help the language development. Special ed. preschool programs have a maximum capacity of 12 with 2 adults (teacher/aide). Your child may learn to talk but in my son's case, I enrolled him in every additional intervention that was available. I didn't know he was autistic. I thought he was damaged in surgery and trust me doctors do not even want to go there. Perhaps his case was just coincidental but as they say, EI (early intervention) is the key. If your child isn't in a special ed preschool; exposure to other kids can help develop some language skills. (Just because it is "special ed." doesn't indicate low function. There are typically developing kids from which your child can model) The good news is that your child can recieve OT/PT/SPEECH therapy at no cost to you. It will be part of his school. ****As for speaking fine, my son can read better than some of the first graders that I teach. However, his fluency is off. He has robotic speech, but his speech is this way as well. We are working on fluency and not perseveration (repeating the same phrase over and over). Remember early intervention is the key. -Good luck Dianna

Name: kathy hudgens | Date: Apr 21st, 2007 4:33 AM
hi there is hope when my son was about 2 he went silient the only word he said was daddy he called me that all the time talk about heart breaking and at that time I didnt know he was autistic so I was really confused about the weird speech problems but over time he started to talk he couldnt say his own name until he was 4 he is 8 now and can say complete sentences there more like what a 4 year old would say but it good enough for me have you checked into a early childhood program call your local schools the offer programs for kids that are 3 and 4 and older its free they do all kinds of testing and will work with your son I enrolled my son when he was 4 there were only 5 kids in his class he was the only autistic child in the program they taught him things I had no idea he could even do I under estimated his abilitys due to his lack of speech they had him do all kinds of things that I would have never thought off .I know that that program allowed my son to be more able to feel ok about himself in a world that was so scary to him I found that having him around other children really helped him to be more social and he learned so many important skills when an autistic has very little speech they withdraw so just keep talking to your son dont think just because he doesnt talk he dosent understand you ,they hear every word you say they just sometimes cant get out what there feeling I have found things that Michael learned last year that he never said a word about are comming out now so there little minds are just full of information waiting to find there way out just give it time and never stop beliving that he can do great things I have people ask me all the time how do you deal with your son having problems I just say very nicely I didnt know mothers had a options I feel sorry for mothers like that I think my son is perfect he came out of me just the way he was soposed to I dont sit around praying for a cure I pray that I will make Michael,s life the best possible. e/mail me we can talk more [email protected] 

Name: mikeys mom | Date: May 4th, 2007 11:22 PM
I say yes, my son started speaking about 3 1/2 yrs of age. and it got increasingly better over time. He is on the spectrum. Hope this helps~Beth 

Name: Suzanne1 | Date: May 28th, 2007 1:18 AM
Have you had his hearing checked? 

Name: jojojohnson | Date: May 28th, 2007 4:53 AM
my child did not speak until he was 4 years old. and then he started picking up words... we put signs up on everything in our home.... the table, dishwasher, door, stove..... everytime we walked by, we would touch the sign, and repeat the name, "dishwasher:" he started to pick up on it.... he is now 7 years old, and he can talk to us in sentences. he can communicate anything that he wants, and can answer all of our questions..... which we never thought would be possible, so with determination, we can accheive so much! dont give up! 

Name: Proudmommy | Date: Jun 1st, 2007 8:07 PM
Hi dianna, my son is 6 now but didn't start talking until he was 5. He use to use sounds, and mamma, dada but that is it. I would recommend a communication book. If they don't have words its frustrating... Once they start on the communication book , its so much easier and by using it they start seeing words and how they sound. Then they start using a sentence for example I want drink.. They hand it to you with the pictures and words.. when my son started using that he started speaking so much better.. He still has a hard time putting a full sentence together it takes him a minute bet his therapist says he knows how now its teaching the brain to spit them out... Is he in a early intervention program with the school?? 

Name: dianna | Date: Jun 2nd, 2007 1:17 AM
yes, he is. It is a ABA program. I wish he would start talking. It is so frustrating with these noises. 

Name: ltl | Date: Jun 2nd, 2007 3:58 AM
Hi Dianna, how is your son doing? Have you seen some improvement with ABA program? I know it is frustrating, and there are good days and bad days I'm sure, but try to hang in there. :-) 

Name: dianna | Date: Jun 4th, 2007 10:19 PM
He's doing better. Thanks for asking. It IS tough right now, I just really do hope that he gets to better understandings. 

Name: billy22 | Date: Jun 4th, 2007 10:38 PM
This is coming from my own experience. My son did develop language after 4years old. He too had some words, not many, but was speaking 2-3 word sentences by the time he got to about first grade. Kindergarten helped him a lot! He got a lot of help at school! So hang in there, sometimes it just takes patience and lots & lots of work!:) 

Name: faithworks | Date: Dec 14th, 2010 6:47 PM
Our 4 yr old has many words... .. but we can't carry on conversation.. She has been getting therapy since 2.. had added many words to her vocabulary but makes few sentences.. She did not know when it was her birthday or does she know what Christmas, Easter, or halloween mean. Can anyone out there tell me that eventually it will come or will it? 

Name: sosusume | Date: Feb 2nd, 2011 5:55 AM
Hello all,

I'm new to this board and wanted to share. As Dianna's question was posted a few years ago, I'm not altogether sure how her son is doing now, wonderful I hope.

My son, now 12, had a few words until the age of 19 months then went completely silent. We knew he was autistic before he was diagnosed, I had studied about it just years prior in university, so the diagnosis did not come as a shock. However, I was very disheartened and saw no light what so ever at the end of the tunnel. After years of private speech path, occupational path, and sensory integration, I thought my world was collapsing around me. Then one day he spoke! And now he keeps speaking and won't shut up! haha.

Ironically, not too long ago he said to me, "You know, mom, I couldn't speak before I was six."

I asked why he didn't speak before.

"I don't know," he said, "I just know I didn't know how to talk. I had words in my head." 

Name: Jayem82 | Date: Feb 16th, 2011 2:33 AM
Hi, sosume I just wanted to say I read your post and it bought tears to my eyes.... and hope to my soul! My son is 4 years old, in Early Intervention and speech therapy but barely speaks. I just know that if he could communicate with me, our lives would be soooo much better. He says a few single words "daddy" "mama" "bye bye" "bounce" and things like that, but as we start to see more progress, he goes quiet again. He is so intelligent though, you can just see it in his eyes... I really hope our story has the same happy ending yours does. 

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