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2 1/2 year old can't engage in back & forth conversation

My son is 28 months old and will not engage in a back and forth conversation with me. It is even difficult to get him to answer yes or no to our questions. If I give him a choice between two things to try, he will often just repeat the two options. He has a large vocabulary (well over 100 words), and his receptive language seems to be very good (he can and will follow 3-step directions and understands most everything that we say to him), and he gets very frustrated when we can't understand him. He tries to communicate, and can express his needs, there just seems to be a disconnect in this part of his language development. I am trying to find a way to help him express himself until we are able to seek therapy.

A little backstory: At his 2 year old well-child visit, our pediatrician (who was in the room with us for less than 10 minutes) suggested we get him screened for autism. I was a special education teacher for several years and worked in the field even longer before teaching, with an emphasis on students with autism - I am convinced that is not the issue. He is very engaging, sensitive, empathetic, and social, but he does seem to have some sensory seeking tendencies and his language development seems to be delayed. He is a very intelligent kid - he can count accurately to 5 and know his numbers to 10, and can read the entire alphabet accurately (with the exception of calling Z "zebra" :). Though I disagreed with it, I took the doctor's recommendation and he is on a wait list to be screened (it's been almost 4 months now). What I am desperately trying to find is a way to help encourage his language in a way that won't interfere with possible therapy.
I don't like telling him what to say - it feels counterproductive when I want him to have his own genuine answers. Any suggestions or even suggestions of resources to use would be very greatly appreciated.
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