Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Community
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My 2 year old son doesn't talk or understand instructions

I am a desperate mom of a 2 year old boy who doesn't talk. A child who isn't good at understanding instructions, and have many issues. He doesn't have behavioral problems and seems happy. He is easy to manage and travel. He met his developmental milestones, turning, crawling, pulling up all on time. He started walking at 12 months. When he was 11 months, used to say "mama", not really calling me, but he used to say it.

But when he reached 14-15 months, he no longer said "mama". He wont even say "yes" or "no". It is also difficult to get his attention. Most of the times we call his name, he wouldn't look. He looks us in the eye, understands emotions, understands when we are happy or upset, he laughs a lot and plays like a normal child but doesn't talk and doesn't seem to understand some simple commands like sit or stand. However, if he we say "come on lets go", he will bring his shoes. I know many normal children will show Autistic behaviors but the key thing for us is that he doesn't talk and is showing some Autistic traits at the same time.

When he was 12 months, I started noticing that he didn't gesture at all. No pointing, no bye, nothing. Also he had difficulty with pincer movement and we used to train him with goldfish which he love to eat. To get things and get our attention he whines and cries.He spins wheels, especially of the toy cars and likes to spin things a lot. Anything on the floor, he likes to spin. But he isn't obsessed with it. He doesn't lines up stuff. We talked to our pediatrician and he said that he is little delayed but he is progressing. At 18 months we took him for evaluation and they scored him on the low side of the communication, language category etc. So a speech therapist started coming to our home and in 6 months he didn't make much progress. She tried to teach him signs for "more", "give me" etc but he is not interested.

After 6 months into therapy they evaluated him and the result was inconclusive. There comments were
1) He is very social, interested in others and have very excellent eye contact. He smiles a lot and keep eye contact.
2) He clearly understand things and may be low in expressive side.
3) He is not playing in a matured way. Examples are he is not interested in pretend play or throw rings of a stack instead of stacking it. They also commented that he is just reaching two years. So we cant force him too much.

So they decided that another therapist who will come to home to help him for functional play.

He seems progressing but little. Now he got the pincer movement and can pick up things with his fingers. Recently I started showing pictures and repeating words. The  words he tried to say are baby, ice, apple and star.  Though not perfect, he is saying them when we show the pictures or hand him ice cubes and apples. About a week back he started stacking the rings of the stacking toys instead of throwing it. He will bring my cell phone and put it on my palm or lap for me to start music. He is very involved with us, want to be with me when I cam cooking, want to see whats in the pan etc.

He love music. He will listen to music for long time so peacefully. He has good memory and concentration. If we hum the tunes or beats he like, he immediately run to us and ask (by babbling) to repeat it. He can imitate but its taking time. I showed him "wheels on the bus" action and after few times he is showing it. But no other gestures. recently when we say tiger or lion or he started making the "grrrrr" sound. So he is picking up, but not as much as he should.

I dont thing he has a hearing problem as he hear even very small sounds. We started taking him to MyGym where I see other kids of his age behave in a much more matured way. I see him just running aimlessly or struggling to do things other kids do. Its breaking my heart... :(

Any advice? I am worried sick.
12 Responses
Avatar universal
My son also had speech problems when he was 2 years old... When he was 22 months I took him for a evaluation at early intervention and they said he had of course a speech problem and they also said he had autism traits!! That broke my heart completely even when they said not to worry and that he needed to be evaluated more... How can you not worry when there is a possibility you son could be autistic... When he was 22 months he didn't respond to his name all the time, he had less than 8 words in his vocabulary, he would not follow directions and pretty much wouldn't understand much of what you were saying to him... I cried so much!! It was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life... I would think about autism 24/7.... He started speech therapy when he turned 2 and started improving slowly but surely... I would work with him everyday... Just like the speech therapist did it, playing!!! Lots of hand on hand playing... He always had good eye contact and never stack anything or flip hands.

When he was 2 1/2 he had probably 45-50 words in vocabulary and he would understand one step direction.... I started teaching him body parts and sign language... Sometimes I was hard on him and if he didn't use sign language or try to say the word, he would not get what he was "asking for" ... I would make him repeat what I was saying... Like if he wanted milk, I would ask him "do you want milk" and he would say "yes" then I would make him repeat "milk please" of course  it would be more like "mi pis" or "mi and sign language for please but that was more than enough for me :).
Now he is 4 and he speaks none stop!!! His language is Soo good you could not believe this is the same boy, he still has some pronunciation problems but he keeps getting speech therapy  twice a week At preschool.... Autism was ruled out when he was 2 1/2... So my advise is focus on helping him instead of thinking about a diagnosis... Spend as much time as possible with him... Get on the floor and PLAY!! They learn a lot that way.... You said he likes pretend playing, my son did too! So I took advantage of that and I would play "house" or cho cho train with him, using a lot of language... For example I would make the train go up and said "the train is going up up up" or if we were playing with a "house" I would say "the door is close" "can we open the door?" A lot of playing and language! Good luck and please don't stop speech therapy!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much..... I hope he will do the same soon.... I see improvements. So its encouraging..
Hi bless24, My Son is 2 year old and is exactly the same as your Son. How is your Son doing now? Please let me know..
Avatar universal
Hi bless24 How is your son doing now.
Facing the same difficulties with my son who is 2years old now. Please share your thoughts.
Avatar universal
My son has autism spectrum disorder. He didn't talk till he was 6 years. He is now speaking a lot. He talks mostly referring his self as the 3rd person. As the years goes by, he gets better.
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Hello! My son is two now and we have the exact same problems with him. Id like to speak to you about what works for all or things you have seen a change him with. Im in the same boat.  My email is ***@****
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Hi Baby 1_2 and Bless24 I am going through the exact same situation and I can relate to your feeling when as a mother you cried and worried and its like I don't know where to turn for help except God. I am willing to work hard with my son in this but I live in a place where we hardly have basic medical facilities so can you pls guide me what steps you took and how to go about it. Kindly write to me at Shazia.z.***@**** or pls pls add me on Facebook Shazia Zaman.
Avatar universal
Hello, I am going through the exact same thing my son will be turning 2 in a month and he doesn't speak much but no, yes, ai and small words no sentences. He also doesn't follow instructions. i have inquired about speech therapy which we haven't began. i am afraid it might be autism. he is a very happy baby and has always made it easy for us as first time parents we never had any trouble with him. HELP!! :(  it breaks my heart to see him not so interested on what other kids do.
Avatar universal
Hi. My 2 yo son also doesn't talk. Doesn't respond to name, doesn't follow instructions, doesn't appear to understand us.... He was recently diagnosed with ASD (level 2). My heart is completely shattered. We are working with speech therapist once a fortnight and I'm trying the same techniques with him every day... We aren't getting anywhere fast and it's been a month. He understands maybe a couple of words now... Go, stop, more, up and down. He says "go" and we have heard a few other words as a once off but don't think he understands their meaning. I hope he will one day talk....
Avatar universal
Research apraxia. My son has the same challenges when he was 2; he is now 4. We use sign language to fill in the gaps and promote developing language. His speech therapy is helping but he still struggles creating two or more sounds. I think my son responds quicker to sign then verbal commands because he really doesn't use verbal responses the same as other kids his age. Sign language helped build his conference and brought him out of isolation. Find a day care that deals with these challenges. Shy away from comparing your child to others or siblings. You need to approach this with different expectations. My son's challenge has brought our family closer and been a true gift in our lives.
Avatar universal
Hi. I have also the same situatuion with my daughther. Hope you can give me update what happened now to your son? thanks.
welcome to medhelp ihaiy.  Feel free to start a thread about your son.  I'd be happy to weigh in on your situation!
Avatar universal
Hi Bless24 - our son behavior  is identical to your son . You mentioned that there was improvement. Does he have any other symptoms now that he is 4 yrs old?
Avatar universal
Hi bless24 - my daughter's behavior is identical to your son she is 2.5 years old now.how is your son doing now? Any improvement ? I am desperately in need of hope as my daughter is starting therapy this month
I have the same situation with my 2.5 yr old son. He is very active and a happy boy..it breaks my heart to go through this situation...i did hearing test which came out well..but he does not talk or understand anything...what will happen to him when i am not here to look after him...i feel like my life is over...
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