I have a 4 year, 4 month old son that was diagnosed with autism at 32 months. He has been in various therapies since then (ABA, speech, OT, SI). He has made progress in some areas, but I feel like his speech is stuck. His speech is basically simple requests for food items, and echolalia. When someone says, "hi matt", he repeats it. He also perseverates on words all day long, which have no significance to the situation at hand. It's like what he is saying has a secret meaning to him. He currently has about 30 words, can't answer or ask questions, initiate conversation, follow through on conversation, express likes,dislikes, or feelings. He has progressed socially, by that I mean that he makes eye contact with family members and familiar people, and will smile and give hugs. He is still unable to play with children. He has no idea what to do. He wants to interact, but usually will push them down or hug them so hard that they fall. He makes screeching noises before his approach, so I know he is excited. He also doesn't know how to play with toys at all, and has no imaginary play skills. His usual pattern of interest revolves around "tapping" with an elongated object, such as a toy sword, stick, ruler, empty plastic bottle, etc.
He is very difficult to engage in play, unless it consists of bouncing him on a ball, or jumping with him on a trampoline or bed. Of course, this type of play can't be done all day, so I have run out of ideas. He is not interested in toys, games, art, etc. He will follow through on a task in ABA, just to get the reinforcer (cookie), but then changes course once he gets the cookie.
This autism is tricky. Here is my question: Is it typical for an autistic child to progress in some areas, such as eye contact, and physical contact, but remain stagnant in language and play skills? I'm afraid that my son will crave attention so much that he will hug or push anyone because he is lacking appropriate social skills.
I hope that you can answer my question. I look forward to your response.