Approximately 50 percent of children with Asperger’s Disorder have delayed speech. However, once speech starts, it typically progresses rapidly. By age five, they should have caught up to their peers. Whether or not an Asperger’s Disorder child’s speech is delayed, the majority of children with Asperger’s Disorder nonetheless experience language difficulties. Asperger’s Disorder children have a very unique way of talking that others perceive as a bit peculiar. Their conversation, choice of words, pronunciation, and/or tone may be unusual. Speech therapists use a specific vocabulary to define the language problems of Asperger’s Disorder children, and break the problems into three categories:
• Pragmatics: how language is used
• Semantics: the meaning of words
• Prosody: the pitch, rhythm, and stress placed on words
Problems in pragmatics manifest in odd ways of conversing with others. Semantic problems result in literal interpretation of words. Prosody problems give an odd quality to the way the child sounds as he talks. These three areas result in numerous problems with language and the way Asperger’s Disorder children and teens speak to others.