Kids and Autism: How Speech-Language Pathologists Help


Speech-language pathologists help children with autism improve their daily functioning and quality of life. Here are the key ways where treatment by a speech-language pathologist makes a difference. Communication skills. Children with autism may have trouble with communication skills such as understanding, talking with others, reading or writing. Social skills. Children with autism may have problems using social skills to connect with other people. It may be hard for them to share a common focus with another person, play with others and share toys, understand feeling or make and keep friends. Feeding problems. Children with autism may not like the way foods looks taste or smell. They may not like how some foods feel in their mouth. Some children with autism may refuse new foods, eat a limited number of foods or avoid foods with different textures, colors or tastes. Speech-language pathologists help children learn how to interact successfully with their family, peers and others. They help them learn how to ask and answer questions, ask for help, take turns and conversations and start and stop conversations. They work with children on reading and writing. They also can help children gradually accept new foods. Speech-language pathologists also work with children who don’t talk at all. This may involve using augmentative and alternative communication called AAC. Examples include sign language, gestures, written word and computers, tablets and other electronic devices. Find a certified speech-language pathologist at www.asha.org/profind or contact your local school system and ask for the child find program if you have any concerns.

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