Fact sheet on Autism providing information for parents on assessment of communication issues from Autism or Asperger's


If a child diagnosed with autism or Asperger's syndrome is experiencing delays in developing communication skills, an assessment may be recommended. This would typically look at:

• Current and future communication needs
• Communication techniques in current use
• Other types of communication styles that could be used.


background information & the actual assessment

This assessment will often have a multidisciplinary approach as different specialists look at educational, physical, mental and social abilities of the child. Professionals who may be involved include a speech therapist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physician, pediatrician, neurologist, social worker, psychologist and audiologist.


Before the assessment, parents will usually be asked to answer a range of questions about the child, including specific communication issues, when they started, current communication strategies used, interaction with others, and gross motor skills. You should answer the team's questions as honestly and completely as possible.


During the assessment, parents are likely to see many different people and their child may be asked to do a variety of tasks. Sometimes only one professional will be in the room; other times, there may be several professional working together.


Team members will meet with you after the evaluation to discuss their findings, recommendations, and suggested plans for the future. You should be given plenty of time to ask questions and make comments. Make sure you obtain a hard copy of the final report. If you don't think the assessment accurately reports what you and your child can do, question the team. All tests have shortcomings and more accuracy may be needed.


After the Evaluation

After making the assessment, the team usually send a report to the school if the child is a student, and may meet with teachers to discuss the recommendations. The team should also guide parents in getting any required equipment, resources and financial sources of assistance that may exist for these.


Parents should consider themselves as part of the therapy team! Learn to apply the principles of any communication interventions in the home environment. Discuss your concerns openly with therapists if you are unhappy with something. You are always entitled to a second opinion if you think your team isn't heading in the right direction.


finding good therapists

A good start is to look for a speech therapist/pathologist and ask questions. A professional will always have time to answer parents' questions and understand their desire to seek the best therapist for their child. You should be able to ask about their qualifications and work experience. They should have particular experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders and how they affect communication. Ideally you should be able to speak to other parents they have worked with, as parents with an autistic child are usually keen to help other parents new to communication issues.


Unfortunately, some parents are unable to afford therapists or may be geographically isolated. Parents often ask whether they can conduct their own interventions, and the answers are usually mixed. Click here to read the Do-it-yourself early intervention fact sheet.


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If a child diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's syndrome is experiencing delays in developing communication skills, an assessment may be recommended to better develop early interventions to minimize developmental delays