Autism Spectrum Disorder

This is a lifelong condition covering a whole range of social communication difficulties. Every child with this disorder will have a slightly different presentation. The main characteristics of this disorder are –

  • Impairment of imagination – there may be difficulties with flexible thinking, there may be rigid routines and interests, there may be difficulties coping with change and an inability to generalise information.
  • Impairment in social relationships – difficulties in understanding how to relate and interact with other peers and adults.
  • Impairment in social communication – difficulties in effectively communicating with other people.

Children with this condition may have a mix of all three main characteristics and can also present with a predominate deficit in one particular area. Children with autism may also have other associated problems. Anxiety problems, clumsiness and attention problems e.g. being easily distracted are common for children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.

A Speech and Language therapist is often involved in the multi disciplinary team that originally diagnosis the disorder.

Children with autism may attend specialist educational settings or mainstream nurseries and schools.


Speech and Language Therapists can help an autistic child by –

  • Assessing early listening, play and interaction skills
  • Assessing speech, comprehension and expressive language skills
  • Giving specific interventions to help communication skills
  • Devising group and /or individual therapy interventions
  • Giving extra activities and exercises will be to work on in-between sessions
  • Helping a child understand social situations
  • Working with children, their families and school to facilitate effective communication and learning.

Last updated: January 26th, 2018