Language Regression In Autism

Language Regression in Autism

The term autism is used to describe a number of developmental and conditions that are characterized by verbal communication delays, among others. Research shows that 88 percent of children experiencing language regression meet the criteria for autism.

According to statistics, about 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism suffer from language regression, which is usually associated with major social deficits. Language regression in children with autism may be seen in the loss of a few words that manifest themselves together with the loss of other non-verbal communication skills.

Language regression in autistic children usually appears relatively early, before the children reach the age of 2 years. According to reports from parents with autistic children, about 25 percent start developing words between the ages of 12 and 18 months before losing the words.

This is one of the helpful signs of autism diagnosis. According to a longitudinal study of toddlers conducted in 2004, this type of language regression that manifests itself after the onset of normal language is unique to autism. It is not seen in children with other developmental difficulties.

Language regression usually takes place gradually. You will notice that a child with autism takes unusually long to learn new words in addition to the fact that they will stop engaging in the communication routines they had taken part in earlier. The regression takes place when the children are still in the process of learning new words when their expressive vocabularies are still relatively limited.

However, it is still quite frustrating for parents when they notice their children losing the language skills they had acquired. Nevertheless, this does not interfere significantly with the children, with studies showing they only have slightly lower verbal IQ scores than children with no history of loss when they reach school age.

The reports received from parents with autistic children are very important in measuring the developmental milestones associated with the kids’ language. Diagnostic interviews have been developed to diagnose autism spectrum disorders. An example is known as the Diagnostic Interview.

Several studies of autism in young children show that the affected children keep making progress in both language and other related developmental domains past the pre-school age.

References:

Goldberg WA 2003

Schlomo Shinnar et al, 2000

Kurita, 1985

Richler

Lord, Rutter and Le Couteur, 2003

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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