Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are severe disorders of development that can affect social interaction, communication, play, and learning.
ASDs represent three of the pervasive developmental disorders defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) and DSM-IV-TR (text revision):
- Autistic disorder
- Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified
- Asperger syndrome.
During the past decade, there has been growing national awareness and concern about the increase in the occurrences of ASD. Approximately 1 in 88 children meet the diagnostic criteria for one of the disorders listed above.
The effects of ASD can be:
- Impairments in Social Interactions
- Impairments in Communication
- Restricted, Repetitive, and Stereotyped patterns of Behaviors, Interests, and Activities
Among the effects of the disorder, children with ASDs have difficulties in both verbal and non-verbal communication, ranging from a complete absence of spoken language to odd or idiosyncratic language. As stated by the NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH BUREAU OF EARLY INTERVENTION “These children’s unconventional communicative behaviors may include language that seems robotic or scripted from television, repetitive or echolalic language (parroting) and “pop-up” and/or “giant” words (such as “whatisthis”). Delayed onset of speech is common.”
These communication impairments further exacerbate social problems that the child with ASD may experience. Increased social problems contribute to increased behavioral issues beyond the normal level with this disorder. These adverse effects of ASD can be minimized through proper speech therapy administered by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP plays a key role in improving the life of a child with ASD
An SLP understands and addresses the social impact that poor communication has in a child’s life. Stated in the online article Autism Spectrum Disorder, “Current interventions start from the assumption that the child wants to communicate and assume that the SLP’s role is to help remove obstacles to communication and provide tools for communication.”
Beth Fine is founder of a boutique speech therapy practice in Manhattan that has great success with identifying and addressing the needs of children with Autism or Asperger. Contact Beth at 212-888-3696 to discuss your child’s situation and the options available for your child and your family.