2 or 3 years is a bit early to say autism or Aspergers. That takes observation over a period of more years to establish a pattern. True, you can say he is developmentally delayed. I'd say, keep up the speech therepy even if you don't see results right away.
Pointing is not usually a method one with autism uses at that age. My daughter at that age would hold my hand by the wrist and move iot near the object.
Don't worry about autism at the moment, but focus on things to help your son learn to communicate. Not just talk, but communicate. Also, if you have health insurance, see if they will cover a visit to a developmental pediatrician. They diagnose lots of things besides autism, and may be able to tell you if it's just language delay, autism, apraxia, etc. Or they may tell you they may not know for a few years (that's what we found out when we went, though the doctor did warn us our daughter had many autistic tendencies). Going early to a developmental pediatrician will help you if they give you things to address some of the problems that go with language delays. Also it would give them a benchmark of something to compare when they see your son in another year or two or three
Our speech therapist focuses on sign language to communicate to bridge the gap. The developmental pediatrician recently told us that our daughter may not speak until age 4 or so (his best guess) but he felt she would speak. So he also said doign things to help her bridge the gap to communicate is essential to reduce her frustration. Sign language is a really good way. I don't know if your son is learning it or not. In 5 months, our daughter has picked up a sign langauge vocabulary of 30 to 40 words she can sign. Though she usually only uses less than 10 on a daily basis (more, eat, drink, open, close, please, thank you, mine, all done, milk, book). It's never to late to start if you haven't already.
Another thing is read up on things on the internet and in books (go to a library if you don't want to buy any books). Communicate With Your Child by Dr. Jim MacDonald was recommended to me recently on a Late Talking Child message board. There are also books on late talkers. There are two books by Dr. Thomas Sowell out there. There are also books on autism, too, but they may or may not pertain to your son. I like one by Dr. Greenspan who has this floortime method, that works also for kids who are not autistic. I'm sure other people can recommend lots of reading.
What our speech therapist does is gives us homework assignments between visits, so we can work on things on a daily basis. Focusing on a particular sign or vocalizing certain words and sounds or working on a particular issue like eye contact. She gives us examples of games to play to do these things. Sometimes I'm not great at improvising, so I requested that she give me specific examples, at least starting out because I was so nervous about what to do and if I was doing it right. No, I'm not the same as the therapist, but once a week, well, there are 6 other days that the speech therapist is not there, so getting homework assignments for me to do with my daughter, I find essential. And although she is not speaking so much right now, her receptive language (her understanding us) has dramatically improved, and she is communicating in other ways such as learning to point (that concept is really hard for her and it's been a struggle) and doing sign language. Sometimes we have to show her a photo of something for her to get the hint. We also developed certain songs we sing when we do certain specific things. We have a clean up song when we put our toys away. We have a song when we go upstairs for bathtime. There are so many other ways to communicate besides speaking. If deaf people can communicate with sign language, then our children can do it too. It just takes a lot of hard work and persistence. There are so many times when I just feel like giving up, but if you stick with the sign language, it does get easier. I constantly have to remind my daughter to tell me what she wants, use your hands and tell me. She still whines a good part of the day, but a gentle reminder for her to stop fussing, tell me what she wants or to show me or to ask her to point, well, it stops the fussing quickly now. At first, she'd still whine. It took months for that whine to get less and less and now it's still there but almost gone.
How can we blame our kids for whining though? I mean, I think about if I had to go to a foreign country and not understand the language, I'd be pretty miserable too.
Oh, another thing I found recently to help with the sign language, is creating games to play. One game we like to play is open and shut an umbrella. I open the umbrella when she does the sign and close it when she signs for that. She thinks it's a riot, she gets to control what I'm doing. We also have a game of feeding a hand puppet dragon with the sign eat. He does not eat traditional food, so she thinks it's funny too. There are also games we play with the sign for "turn".
Oh, sorry to put another message up... I'm so disorganized tonight in my thoughts... The message board I go to for late talkers, the address is:
It also has informational files on late talking as well as messages from parents of late talkers. It's not an autistic message board, just late talkers. It gives lots of help and advice. There was a file about a method called "recasting" and there are other files and messages of excerpts from professionals in addition to the many messages from parents. Dr. Mary Camarata (I think she's either married or the daughter of Dr. Stephen Camarata) at Vanderbilt has suggestions on the site as well. I'm not sure if it's run by her or not. But, I find it's helpful to read suggestions that other parents have tried for their late talkers. Dr. Stephen Camarata was mentioned in Dr. Sowell's book and I acciddently stumbled on the yahoo message board by googling his name and trying to find a support group.
Autism can be screened for as early as 18 months...if that is it, why wait? If your child isn't 3 yet you can also call the county early intervention program, it's a federal program administered under different names everywhere. I found some video clips of specific behaviors for autism at autismspeaks.org under the glossary...Good luck. I personally wouldn't wait.
18 months to identify autism? Hmm. That's a new one on me! What kind of tests/tools? I was under the impression a pattern of behaviors as outlined in the DSM must be established. Some of the aforementioned items aren't even set as a baseline for typical developmental pattern milestones at 18 months.
I am waiting for my sons diagnosis, should just be a few more days, he is 28 months old. Yes there are many observational tests to diagnose autism, in my sons case it was the ados and they use module 1 since he is non verbal.