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2.5 year old girl has no compression of language, is it autism?

I've been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. He has 2 children that come over to our house on the weekends. His son didn't really begin to speak till he was 3, but always seemed to understand everything we would say to him and would try to sing songs that he knew from tv. I'm mentioning this because my boyfriend will make an excuse saying that his son didn't start to speak till he was 3 and is sure that his daughter will be the same way.
His 2.5 year old daughter, however, shows no sign of language development or understanding of it. There is also very little babbling. Sometimes we are able to get her attention by saying her name to her, but there are many times where she will not turn her head at all towards you. The only word she seems to know is the word "no". She also never plays with toys. She might pick up a small item, like a hot wheel, and fumble with it, but that's about it. The one activity she really enjoys is watching cartoons. She could sit in front of the tv all day, and be content. Another thing is that she only really likes my boyfriend to hold her and freaks out if he walks just 5 feet away from her. It can be very frustrating for all of us.
I've been worried about her development since last year and am unsure of how to mention it to my boyfriend without upsetting him. I thought maybe it could be autism or maybe another disability and know that the sooner it is taken care of the better she will do and the better we can accommodate to her needs and development.
3 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Oh gosh, I'm sorry to hear this.  It is always hard for parents to face when their child may have a challenge or issue.  There is a really wide range of normal with kids, as you probably know.  And some develop earlier and some later.  However, there are definitely red flags here.  Not pretend playing is a sign.  Does she ever pretend to be a kitty or a doggie or a baby and crawl around?  Act anything out?  Engage or interact at all with siblings or you guys?  Can you give her any commands that she will follow?  Such as, please bring me X.  That is age appropriate.  Some kids can do two step commands like go to the door.  Stop and turn around in a circle.  But for her, I think I'd start by just a simple command.  

There are different parts of speech. There is receptive---  taking in what people say to you, organizing it, understanding it.  Expressive--- thinking of how to respond, organizing thoughts and words, knowing what you wan tot say.  And articulation---  actually saying the words.  If any one of those three is off, then kids have trouble effectively communicating.  

The thing about autism and speech delays and sensory integration disorder (which my son has) is that you can SO help a child if you do early intervention.  My son started seeing an OT at 4.  He was a little behind but it was earlier enough we could really dive into helping him.  He's now 14 and functions fantastic.  No help at school, good grades, plays sports, is social but we had to work to get there.  SIX years of occupational therapy!  

But is hard if your boyfriend is not wanting to look at this.  I think you could say that you are simply worried about her.  You want the best for her and that maybe she needs a little help.  Does she attend preschool at all?  My sons at 3 did two half days a week of preschool.  They were not in daycare but did this school and that was a great thing because the teachers wouldn't LET me deny there was an issue no matter how much I didn't want there to be!  Another avenue is to ask her doctor.  But I would just be sincere and honest and tell him you are not criticizing his daughter.  You want to HELP her!  Because you care.  

Let us know how things go!!
1 Comments
There is no pretend play at all. The only engagement we really get with her is her smiling and laughing when we do simple games like peek-a-boo, throw a ball in the air, and making silly faces, but she doesn't play back or play with others. We did have a little success last weekend with a magnetic fishing pole while we were in the pool. It wasn't pretend play, but she kept trying to put the magnetic fish on the pole. My step mom and I are working on getting her more toys that we think she might like. She'll have 3 new toys this weekend, and I'm excited to see if she will interact with them.

She doesn't understand any commands. We will say "NAME, no" if she is getting into something she isn't supposed to, and it seems she understands it. I will try more simple one worded commands with her this weekend.

Neither of his kids are in any sort of pre-school or daycare. They stay at home all day with their grandparents, while their mother sleeps and works.  My boyfriend has talked about wanting to put them in a preschool because he believes it will make a great difference in their skills if they were interacting with other children more and with a teacher. I do agree that it would help, but the girl definitely needs some kind of special attention. I know it must be hard for a parent to find out that something could be wrong with their child. It's good to hear that your son was able to get the help he needed and has no problems now.  I'll continue to work with her more and bringing it up to my boyfriend to take her to a doctor to be evaluated.  Thank you so much!
Avatar universal
It's impossible to give a diagnosis like that. But some family has lots of late talker and they end up just fine. So I understand he may thing his daughter will talk late as her brother did. But... I think he still should have her testes by a  professional to see if anything is wrong. He really has nothing to lose, if she is fine, great,  if she needs some early intervention,  the best would be to start asap anyway.  You both can already help her with toys, play with her,  show her how to pretend play with a doll and see if she will play appropriately after you show her how to play with toys. Talk to her a lot , to help her language skills. And teach her to follow instruction etc... does she point? Does she wave ? If not, teach her.  ( you or him or someone else) Some kids just need to be teached first...
Avatar universal
My dad talked at 3 and ends up fine, his uncle talked at 5 and ends up fine. But my brother talked at 2 and a half and is on the spectrum so you never know...
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