Your child may have trouble with communication skills like understanding, talking with others, reading or writing. Sometimes, she might lose words or other skills that she’s used before. Your child may have problems:
Or she may read early but without understanding the meaning - called hyperlexia.
Your child also may alos:
A child with autism may:
How is autism diagnosed?
It is important to have your child evaluated by professionals who know about autism. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), typically as part of a team, may diagnose autism. The team might include pediatricians, neurologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and developmental specialists, among others. SLPs play a key role because problems with social skills and communication are often the first symptoms of autism. SLPs should be consulted early in the evaluation process. There are a number of tests and observational checklists available to evaluate children with developmental problems. The most important information, however, comes from parents and caregivers who know the child best and can tell the SLP and others all about the child’s behavior.
What is Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder?
Problems with social uses of language may be a social communication disorder, sometimes called a pragmatic language disorder. All children with autism have social communication problems. Children with other disorders also may have social communication problems. Sometimes a child just has a social communication disorder. Children with social communication problems also may have other language disorders. These may include problems with vocabulary, grammar, reading, or writing.
A social communication disorder may lead to behavior problems. Children may be frustrated because of their communication problems. They may not be able to share their wants or needs.
Children who have social communication problems without restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities may be diagnosed as having a Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder rather than an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What treatments are available for people with autism?
There is no known cure for autism. In some cases, medications and dietary restrictions may help control symptoms. Intervention should begin when the child is young. Early intervention and preschool programs are very important. An evaluation by an SLP should be completed to determine social skill, communication, language, and behavior needs. An appropriate treatment plan that meets the needs of the child and family can then be established. Treatment may include any combination of traditional speech and language approaches, augmentative and alternative communication, and behavioral interventions. It is also important to have the child’s hearing evaluated to rule out hearing loss.
What causes autism?
Autism is a lifelong problem with a number of possible causes, including but not limited to:
What do SLPs do when working with individuals with autism?
An SLP may work with your child at home, in the classroom, or in an office. Your child might work on some goals alone or in small groups. Small groups allow your child to practice skills with other children.
An SLP will help your child understand, talk, read, and write. SLPs work with children on social skills too. They also work with children who don’t talk at all. An SLP may help your child:
An SLP will help your child understand and use words.
Your child may learn to:
SLPs also work on reading and writing.
Your child may learn to:
An SLP may use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with your child. AAC should be used at home and when you go out. It’s not just for school. AAC includes
Many children with autism can benefit from AAC. AAC may even help children learn to talk.
Children with autism may to like the way foods look, taste, or smell. They may not like how some foods feel in their mouth. Your child may
An SLP can help your child accept new foods.