Hoffmann Foundation for Autism
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Autism in 4year old

Hiya every1, my wee son is 4 and hasn't been officially diagnosed with Autism but his nursery teacher has some concerns and suggested Autism. Thomas has just started nursery in September, I had my own concerns as I feel his speech is definitely not were it should be. I feel that his speech is the biggest concern, to me he interacts well with other children in the street but he doesn't play with them in a class setting. We have arranged for a Child Psychologist to attend the school for assessment. What do u as parents find are the biggest traits in a child with Autism? Is there any activities you would recommend doing to try and improve speech?


4 Replies

Hiya, hope you and your little man are well.

To answer your question, for autism to be diagnosed there has to be delays with speech, language and social interaction. However the forms these difficulties appear varies from child to child. As some kids have speech but yet lack the understanding of the spoken language etc. it is a very broad spectrum but I think you are looking at the issue in the best way possible.

My son's speech is very delayed and to support him with this, I have had to modify how I speak to him, I use key words, very little emphasis on grammar and sometimes use pictures to help him understand. For instance, rather than say, time to eat dinner, I simply say eat dinner. That way there are fewer words for him to try to understand and the emphasis is on getting the message across. Also it is easier to remember those key words than a long sentence.

Use pictures often, I tend to show my son pictures of him doing activities that we are about to do. Like going to the park, I would show him a picture of himself at the park saying" we go park".

Apart from his speech, what is he like with routines, does he get upset when there are changes in routines, does he play in a repetitive manner, does he have unusual mannerisms such as toe walking, not pointing, taking you by the hand to what he wants, flapping his hands?

Does he understand social situations?

You can get a health visitor in to assess him and they can make a referral for a paediatrician to see him as well as for him to get speech therapy. You do not need a diagnosis to access help in the areas you feel your son needs support. Good luck and feel free to ask me if you have more question.


Hiya thanks for the reply, I don't find he does anything like flapping hands, he does point to some stuff but has definitely started putting more of a vocabulary together since starting school. I find he doesn't say mummy and daddy properly in general but if I keep correcting him or not answering him he will say mummy the way he should (that's a bit frustrating because I know he can say the word properly but he chooses not too)

At home he does like to line certain toys up but not everything

As for food I don't see too much of a problem to me he is just a fussy eater

Really if I'm honest it's his speech that is the major problem I would say he is about 18months behind, I'm waiting on an appointment for speech and language coming

Think the teacher is more focused on Autism and she says he has a lot of traits but I just dunno, she says he doesn't play a lot with the other children but at home he will play outside with other children and fully engage with them, he's been in school for around 6weeks now and I feel he has improved so hopefully within the next 6weeks he will improve more

I think that is good that u have found using pictures has helped

I hope u n ur son r doing good

Thanks for the information


Hi there, My daughter has just turned four and started nursery last September. She has epilepsy and now suspected to have ASD. The diagnosis process is long even for a child like mine who is already in 'the system' for other medical problems. I can related to lots of the characteristics the other mum mentioned as well as to some of the things you have but when I noticed most about my daughter was the lack of 'social checking'. She plays lovely at home with her sisters, makes good eye contact and interacts quite normally but when she is in nursery she will play to her own agenda and even when another child comes along side her to play she will never glance to them to make sure she is doing something correctly. Her speech has been delayed but this could also be attributed to her epilepsy so I am trying not to base anything on that. The signs can be very subtle and to be honest I think if she hadn't been my third child I could well have missed them. I have found that preparing her for what is happening by using pictures and schedule boards has made a massive difference to her and this week is the first week she hasn't cried going to nursery so regardless of diagnosis I would say do what works for your little man.

I live by two rules 1) is she happy? 2) are we coping? and most of the time its a yes to both. Good luck xx


I also have a four year old who is not talking and I don't think he understands anything either. He doesn't have any other symptoms of it


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