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 of which there are several types. Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can display a wide range of symptoms. Often, they will display behavioral symptoms like repetitive activities, social symptoms like a refusal to make eye contact, and communication symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. A child with an autism spectrum disorder may refuse to speak entirely, have limited speech, or may speak in a “robotic” manner.