Autism Awareness: How a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help!

14-6Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? To help raise awareness, we’re dedicating our blogs to topics in autism during the month of April. Last week, we talked about the early signs and symptoms of autism and how important early intervention can be. Today, we’ll talk about how autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) affect communication and how a speech language pathologist can help.

Since one of the most common symptoms of autism is decreased communication, speech-language pathologists are usually an important part of a child’s treatment. Speech therapy can help children with ASD in a number of ways. Because children with autism can vary so widely in their symptoms and severity, each child’s treatment is different. Here are some of the common ways a speech-language pathologist can help a child on the autistic spectrum:

  • Increasing language: Some children with ASD have limited ability to understand or express language. A speech-language pathologist can help a child learn words, learn to ask and answer questions, or make requests.
  • Social language: Using language socially is one of the most difficult issues for many children on the spectrum. A speech-language pathologist can help a child learn to take turns in a conversation, vary the topics they talk about, and recognize how others are feeling.
  • Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC): Some children with ASD do not have enough verbal language to be able to communicate with those around them. For these children, a speech-language pathologist may recommend an AAC device. This can be as simple as pictures which a child can hand to other people to show what they want. It can also include high-tech computerized devices that generate speech. Which AAC device is appropriate is specific to the individual child’s preferences, strengths, and needs.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with autism? How has it affected your life and the way you communicate? Share your story in the comments section below!

Stay tuned: Next week I’ll talk about how a speech-language pathologist can help a child on the autistic spectrum who has sensory or food-related issues.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved


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