Autism Spectrum Disorder

There are many misconceptions about what is autism. Autism spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment condition (a disorder affecting the development of the nervous system and brain). It is marked by shortfalls in social interaction and social communication. There is also the presence of restrictive and non-verbal communication behavior.

Autism symptoms fall under three categories;

  • Social communication impairment
  • Language and other cognitive skills impairment
  • Emotional and behavioral challenges

Autism disorder social communication impairment symptoms include deficits in social cognition, joint attention, and social cognition. The language and cognitive skills impairments include delayed acquisition of words, deficits in using and understanding verbal and non-verbal communication, symbolic deficits, and literacy deficits.

Behavioral and emotional deficits include challenges in self-management, dealing with a change in routine, anxiety/social withdrawal, etc. There may also be certain feeding and sensory problems, including under-responsiveness and over-responsiveness, rejecting food in patterns based on food presentation and texture, and consuming a smaller variety of food than others.

Treating Autism disorder

After an autism test confirms the diagnosis, speech therapy is the best treatment approach. It is the role of a speech-language pathologist. A speech-language pathologist helps in the following areas;

  • Non-verbal communication
  • Social skills
  • Concept skills
  • Conversation skills
  • Grammar
  • Prosody
  • Speech pragmatics
  • Body language
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Social skills

In conducting speech therapy, observe the following:

  1. Ensure your child can communicate functionally and spontaneously. Your child should communicate his needs without prompts.
  2. Instruct them on how to act in various social settings to understand what is socially acceptable in various settings.
  3. Directly instruct the child on peer interactions, including play skills, joint attention, and perspective taking.
  4. Other adults need training and support to provide instruction to the child beyond the therapy minutes. It allows the child to transfer skills from one setting to another.
  5. Fine-tune communications skills after other areas improve. These include speech, sound, and grammar errors, difficulties with figurative language, and asking and answering questions.