Expressive Language Delay and Autism: Speech Therapy

Worried that your child isn't talking yet? In many cases, there’s no cause for alarm when a child is a late talker. Most children will develop language skills in their own time, and some develop language faster than others. However, since it’s estimated that between 15-25% of young children have some type of communication disorder, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek help. Children that speak less than 10 words by the time they’re age 18-20 months old are considered late talkers, and language delays are especially common in children who have autism.

Autism and Language Skills

It’s important to understand that language is divided into two main categories: receptive and expressive. Receptive language involves understanding what other individuals are saying. Expressive language refers to the ability to convey thoughts with words that have meaning, or essentially the ability to talk. While every child is unique, children on the autism spectrum often have more difficulty with expressive language, which is why children’s therapy for autism generally includes some type of speech therapy. Specifically, an expressive language delay in children is a very broad diagnosis that merely means a child is finding it difficult to use language in some way. Since it’s such a broad diagnosis, every child is different. Some children may have a tough time using the correct words. Others may find it difficult to put their words together to form sentences. Still, others may not be speaking at all - even though they may display excellent comprehension of language.

Signs of an Expressive Language Delay in Children

Some of the common symptoms of an expressive language delay in children may include:

  • Failing to coo and babble within the first year
  • Never imitating the sounds that are spoken by parents, such as “dada” or “mama”
  • Not saying any words by the age of two
  • The inability to speak in very short sentences by three years of age
  • Difficulty understanding your child

Is Children’s Speech Therapy the Right Option?

So if you’ve noticed some of the signs above and you’re wondering how to help a child with an expressive language disorder, Infinite Therapy Solutions is here to help. If your child has an expressive language delay and autism, they may require intensive speech therapy for children, and the earlier this therapy is started, the better. As soon as the delay is detected, it’s important to start treatment. This provides your child with the best chance of catching up, and if your child is unable to express themselves, therapy can offer the solutions needed to have some form of expression, which can reduce frustration and miscommunications for both you and your child. If you’re concerned about your child being a later talker, the first step is to have your child evaluated professionally for an expressive speech delay or language delay.

Children’s Therapy for Expressive Language Delay

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to children’s speech therapy – you’ll need to work with professional speech therapists who can identify and address your child’s specific expressive language problems. At Infinite Therapy Solutions, we not only offer speech therapy to help children deal with milestone delays and issues with words or sounds, but we also can help with augmentative/alternative communication as we work to help your child improve their expressive language skills. If you’re worried about your child’s expressive language delay, our clinicians can work with your child to help them improve their communication by using expressive language delay activities and various language treatment strategies. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our professionals skilled in children’s therapy for autism.


  • Language disorders are very common in children, particularly those with autism.
  • Late talkers speech therapy for children can help your child overcome an expressive delay.
  • With understanding and help, an expressive language delay in children can be managed, and a child can learn to make the most of his talents and strengths.
  • It’s critical to start speech therapy for children as early as possible.