SLP and ASD: a FaceBook conversation about what Speech-Language Pathologists do

Parent I’m curious about what speech pathology has to do with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Do many children with ASD have speech difficulties?

Stephanie Harvey Children with ASD have a broad range of communication abilities, ranging from having subtle social language difficulties to being non-verbal. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) treat all communication disorders. Most of my work with kids with ASD involves working with social language difficulties. These include skills such as starting, continuing and ending a conversation, knowing how to play with other children, paying attention to other people, and expressing emotions. The ideal way to target social language is in a group setting, with lots of opportunities to practice with different people. I run groups for little kids (5-8), kids (8-12), and teens (12-16), and even an all-girls’ group. Most are run in conjunction with an occupational therapist (OT), Jen Fisher. As an SLP, I focus on communication skills. With an OT involved, we can also target thinking flexibly, self-advocacy, sensory integration, emotional regulation, self-awareness and independence. I love doing the group intervention. I want to start one for young adults (18-21) and a francophone group next. I do also work individually with children who have very little speech, and children who have delayed speech or language.

Parent Who knew all that was involved in speech therapy!!? Thanks for all the info, Stephanie! I’d love to know when you have a group for young adults! The poster reminds me of Michelle Garcia Winner. My son and I were at her recent conference and both really liked her. Are you familiar with her work? She was SO spot-on!

Stephanie Harvey Yes, we integrate social thinking into our groups. I love Michelle Garcia Winner, too. I attended her conference – and bought a pile of books there! Jen and I both have years of experience, so we integrate different treatment approaches into our work, depending on the needs of the participants. Our groups for little kids are more active – it’s amazing how many skills can be targeted with an obstacle course! Our groups for teens have more discussion and practice having conversations.

Parent It sounds like you love your work.

Stephanie Harvey Yes, I do!

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