Communication impairments, including hearing, speaking, reading and writing, are common for people living with autism who frequently lack the social skills normally used to acquire language. Many have serious difficulties with the basic development of language skills and may be non-verbal throughout their lives or have delayed speech. People with ASDs who are verbal may use words without their usual meanings or repeat verbatim words or phrases they have heard (echolalia). Others will speak in odd ways, using a high pitched voice or using staccato, robotic speech patterns. Even those with exceptional vocabularies may miss the subtleties of practical communication and still have a hard time conversing.
Language difficulties can also greatly affect behaviour. The inability to communicate one’s needs effectively can cause anxiety and frustration, leading to challenging behaviours such as screaming or tantrums.
Communication methods, tools, systems and interventions contain elements that set them apart from behaviour-based treatment programs but many of them incorporate some behavioural components. In addition, components of some of these methods and interventions may be integrated into many behavioural therapy programs.
All information, data and material contained, presented or provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinions of Autism Canada, or as providing legal or medical advice. All treatment decisions should be made by the individual in consultation with a licensed health care provider.