Autism is as much part of a child as his or her personality is and it brings with it a range of strengths as well as weaknesses. Autism affects social interaction, imagination/flexible thinking and all areas of communication. Difficulty learning to speak is just one of the many different symptoms. While learning to speak will not make the autism go away, it is important to remember that just because a child has autism doesn’t mean they won’t ever learn to speak!
When a speech & language therapist sees a child with autism, they will assess many areas of communication, not just the child’s speech. To build up an overall picture of the child’s communication, the therapist will also assess the child’s understanding, expressive language, social interaction, play skills and non verbal communication. The therapist will then use the information from the assessment to put together a support plan (maybe including some speech work!) to help the child communicate to the best of their ability.