ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNICATION
If a child diagnosed with autism
syndrome is experiencing delays in developing communication
skills, an assessment may be recommended. This would typically look
• 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
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.
Click here for the full
range of autism and Asperger's fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
Click here to go
to the Communication Issues page
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU