Autism is a developmental disability that causes problems with social skills and communication.  Autism can be mild or severe, and not all behaviors will exist in every child.  Some individuals on the autism spectrum do not speak, while others love to talk but have difficulty with conversational speech and/or understanding the nuances of language and nonverbal cues when talking to others.    

In terms of speech development, signs of symptoms of Autism are as follows:

-Not speaking or very limited speech; 

-Loss of words the child was previously able to say; 

-Difficulty expressing basic wants and needs; 

-Poor vocabulary development; 

-Repeating what is said (echolia); 

-Problems answering questions; and

-Speech that sounds different (e.g. "robotic" speech or speech that is high-pitched). 

Speech-language therapy is designed to coordinate the mechanics of speech with the meaning and social use of language.  Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a key role is diagnosing autism because problems with speech are often the first signs of autism, and should be consulted early in the evaluation process.  From this evaluation, the SLP will set goals to help the person communication more useful and functional ways.  These goals may include mastering spoken language and/or learning nonverbal communication skills like signs and gestures.    

In 2006, ASHA (the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) developed four documents delineating the role of SLPs in working with individuals with autism, as well as what is needed in terms of knowledge and skills to serve this population.  The documents can be found here:


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Six months ago, I brought my son Atticus in for his evaluation, with only a handful of words and a tendancy to withdraw from interaction, I was desperately seeking someone...someway to help him.

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Strength and Power Training for Children with Poor Coordination!

By Veronica Glen, PT, DPT (

When Physical Therapists see a clumsy or uncoordinated child, one of the first thoughts we think is “That kid can use some balance training!” or “They could benefit from functional activity practice!” What current evidence based research is finding is that strength and power training can be just as helpful if not MORE helpful than functional movement training!

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