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A 39-year-old member asked:

Is speech delay a definite sign of autism?

4 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Pediatrics 37 years experience
No.: In fact, nonverbal communication is deficient in autistic children; many children with speech delay are so good at reading nonverbal cues that they have no motivation to start speaking.
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Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 52 years experience
Not always: What's important is to assess both receptive & expressive language.As well as self-help/adaptive skills, cognition, social verbal & non-verbal communication & reciprocal social interaction.Speech is sound production or articulation. An isolated expressive language disorder confers high risk for dyslexia. Rec/exp language disorder can be isolated or indicate risk for intellectual disability.
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Dr. Natalie Hodge
Pediatrics 28 years experience
Yes: Yes, speech delay is one sign of autism, BUT there are many manifestations of speech delay that are NOT associated with autism, as well. Speech delay with poor eye contact, lack of gesturing in a toddler, with intense interest in a narrow range of subjects are associated signs of autism. Early diagnosis can be made between 15 to 18 months and definitely by age two! Early intervention is key!
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Dr. Brad Goldenberg
Neonatology 38 years experience
Remember that a premature baby can show some delay of higher functioning at any age, and if less than 32 weeks at birth, make sure you have your infant tested at the latest, by 4-6 months of age, if usual milestones for age at not being met. Your pediatrician can be of enormous help to identify early signs of delays in development
Sep 28, 2014
Dr. William Singer
Pediatric Neurology 53 years experience
No: Speach dela has many causes such as recurrent ear infections, hearing loss and birth order,with the youngest child in multi child family often having a delay in expressive language
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Last updated Sep 14, 2017

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