Autism is definitely a word and diagnosis that as a community, we seem to be hearing more and more. Here at Child Language and Developmental Speech, we hope to provide you with some information about autism and recommendations should you have any speech and/or language concerns.
So….what is autism?
According to The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), autism is a developmental disability that causes problems with social skills and communication. Autism can be mild or severe and it doesn’t look the same for every person.
How is autism diagnosed?
Because usually the first signs of autism are concerns with social skill development and communication, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is integral to the evaluation process. Although a Speech-Language Pathologist CAN diagnose autism, it is best that a multi-disciplinary team approach be utilized when making an autism diagnosis. This team may include: Speech-Language Pathologists, Pediatricians, Neurologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and other Developmental Specialists.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism
Please click below for a comprehensive list of possible signs/symptoms of autism. Some key signs are: not speaking or very limited speech, loss of words the child was previously able to say, repeating what other people say, difficulty following directions, hearing accuity is normal yet the child appears to not hear at times, poor eye contact with people and objects, being overly focused on objects or topics of interest, and rocking/hand flapping or other unusual movements.
With regards to treatment for autism, there is no known cure for autism. However, early intervention is so very important!! Speech-Language treatment for a child with autism may be a combination of traditional speech and language treatment, augmentative and alternative communication, and behavioral interventions. Because each person diagnosed with autism doesn’t present the same, there is not one set treatment plan. Treatment plans are always very specific to the individual child’s and family’s needs.
Please explore the links below for further information and resources on autism. At Child Language and Developmental Speech, we have an excellent team of therapists who can provide screenings, evaluations, and treatment in the home, school, or clinic. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.