Life with a speech-delayed toddler is filled with heartache and joy. Along with the usual toddler demands comes the added difficulty of not being able to easily communicate. In my child’s case, her severe speech delay is due to autism spectrum disorder and motor planning issues. Our days are filled with struggle. My failure to understand her can send her into a rage or meltdown, further fueled by the autism. Yet we do find joys amongst the everyday struggles of communication challenges with autism.
Autism is a developmental disorder that ranges from mild to severe. Rather than being defined as one particular disorder and set of symptoms, autism is referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Every child is unique with his own particular signs and symptoms.
As the parent or caregiver of a child with ASD, you have likely noticed some of the typical signs of autism. Children with autism often react differently to being touched, resist changes to routines, and engage in repetitive activities. However, it bears repeating that children with autism spectrum disorder have various symptoms. That said, you will likely notice that your child communicates differently than children without ASD.