Question?: Autism Signs In Infants

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Michael asks…

What to expect at speech pathologist evaluation with 9-month-old?

My son is 9-month-old and he is not babbling (at all). We’ve been signing with him and he’s never signed back, either. He also has problems swallowing thin liquids, but he can drink his bottle because we thicken it with rice cereal. The pediatrician wants us to get an evaluation with a speech pathologist to check language and swallowing. What can we expect? What kinds of tests will she perform? What sort of therapy is possible for this age? Besides reading, signing, and talking as much as possible (which we’ve always done), what else can we do to speed language development?

admin answers:

At 9 months most of the evaluations will consist of the therapist looking at the physical structure of his mouth, teeth, gums, tongue, etc, observing him as he plays, and asking you lot of questions.

As he is not babbling at all you may need to take him to an audiologist who works with infants to have a specific type of hearing screening done. It consists of them measuring what sound is reaching your son’s brain. (I am just assuming that you haven’t already had this done.)

If it turns out that your son is deaf or has autism or is just severely delayed, than getting that diagnosis this early is crucial because it will allow for very intensive therapy for him while his brain is still very plastic.

I am not sure what therpy would look like for a 9 month old child but I imagine it will be a more intensive and targeted version of what you are already doing-talking, singing, reading and interacting as much as possible with your child. The therapist will probably spend a lot of time teaching you what to do for your child at home.

I wish you the best of luck with your child. Although I don’t work with infants, I do teahc special education and have 4 years of experiance with preschool children who are delayed. Please dont’ hesitate to e-mail me if you have any more questions.

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