Autism spectrum disorder

How we can help people with autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder which affects a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It will also affect a person’s ability to judge and understand what is happening in the world around them. Autism is a spectrum disorder and so people who are diagnosed with this, will be affected in different ways depending upon severity. It can affect relationships with family and friends and become difficult in the working environment. This is often caused by a lack of understanding of ASD and is because people who have ASD may be misunderstood or misinterpreted in what they are saying or doing socially.

Speech and language therapy will help to support individuals with ASD to communicate as effectively as possible. Speech and language therapy will focus on many aspects of communication and provide an individualised treatment plan for the individual’s specific needs and abilities.

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a disorder which has an effect on a person’s communication and relation to other people. It can also affect judgement and understanding. People who have ASD will have three main areas of weakness, these are:

Although individuals with ASD will experience difficulty in these areas, the extent at which will vary widely and depend upon each individual. As a result of this, some people are able to lead independent lives, whilst others will need specialist care or support.

Some people may suffer from a sensitivity to sound, touch, taste or smell. People can either be over or under sensitive to these things and different ways of getting around a situation may be useful, for example, wearing lighter clothing or eating a more structured diet.

As autism is a spectrum disorder, an individual with autism will have different skills and varying cognitive abilities. Those with high functioning autism (this used to be called Asperger’s syndrome) will not have a language delay but may struggle with some forms of social communication. Those with low functioning autism may have no spoken language at all and will communicate through sounds and movement. It is important to get a diagnosis in order to understand the extent of the disorder and whereabouts the individual fits along the varied spectrum, thus allowing a therapy plan to be tailored to each individual.

What causes autism spectrum disorder?

The cause of ASD is not yet known exactly, however it is often the combination of both environmental and genetic factors which contribute to the change in the development of the brain. The individual suffering from this condition has no control over it and it is not caused by a difference in an individual’s upbringing.

What problems caused by autism spectrum disorder can SLT UK help with?

Speech and language therapy can help people with the problems associated with ASD and help people to work on attention and listening, language, speech sound, communication and social communication difficulties.

How does speech and language therapy help autism spectrum disorder?

Speech and language therapy can be beneficial in supporting individuals with ASD. Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise the potential of an individual’s communication skills and can take many different forms, depending on the severity of each individual case. Different approaches may be used and will be useful in bridging the gap of a person’s communication and different situations in their life.

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Speech and language therapy can help individuals to increase their confidence and reduce anxiety during social situations. It can help individuals to develop strategies to communicate, which may lead to further social and work opportunities.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for autism spectrum disorder involve?

Speech and language therapy for ASD may involve assessments, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, support groups, training, advice and education.

Specific treatments for individuals with ASD can include:

An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve in your treatment.


Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition which affects a person’s social communication, interaction, and imagination. ASD can vary widely depending upon each individual. It can be extremely difficult for not only the individual with ASD, but their family and social network. It can affect whether an individual is able to work or not, however this will depend upon the severity and individuals support network. Speech and language therapy will aim to support an individual’s ability to communicate, and maximise this to their full potential.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

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