Wed, 10 Sep 2003

Delayed speech problem or autism?

Dear Dr. Donya,

I happened to come across your article Helping kids with delayed speech problems. I have two sons, the first about three-and-a-half years old and the second 26 months old. Our first son has developed physically and mentally very well.

Our second son, however, has not yet uttered a word. He is still only doing baby talk. He refuses to be taught and tends to focus on things for only a very short time.

Physically he is healthy, but one thing which is troubling us is that he tends not to turn and look at us when we call him by his name. He tends to respond very little to things we say to him, up to the point that he doesn't seem yet to understand simple instructions. We took him for a hearing test in Singapore in February this year, and the result was positively perfect (which shows that he has no hearing problem).

Some acquaintances of ours have recommended taking him for speech therapy. But others say to wait until he is at least 2.5 or three years old. We are still confused.

I need your kind and expert opinion about this. Or if you recommend, could you advise us which speech therapist in Jakarta we should try?

I sincerely express my deepest gratitude



Dear Haryanto,

The way you describe your son, it sounds like he has a problem with social and language skills, which is often a sign of an autistic child. I think you should take him to see a pediatric psychiatrist, developmental pediatrician or general pediatrician first, who could at least do a screening test for his delay and provide a diagnosis of autism or not? Then the doctors could suggest a speech therapist. Please do not wait; the earlier you take your son the better.

Please take note of the following address:

Yayasan Autisma Indonesia (Autism Foundation of Indonesia) Jl. Buncit Raya No. 55, South Jakarta 1270 Ph: 797 1945 Fax: 799 1355 E-mail:

Dr. Donya

Dear Dr. Donya,

I was interested in your article in The Jakarta Post about delays in children's speech. I would be grateful if you could send me more articles and advice.

I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son who has speech problems. I would appreciate it if you could recommend some publications so that I can learn more about my son's problems. I am looking forward to hearing your advice.

A mother

Dear Mother,

Would you please give me more details about what kind of problems your son has, then I can give you a more narrow scope to read.

Thank you for your interest.

Dr. Donya