What is Autism and the effect it has on Speech and Language Development?

autism in children

One in 100 people are diagnosed with autism and there are around 700,000 adults and children in the UK with this. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that impacts how an individual communicates and interacts with others and how they experience their surroundings. Autism is a spectrum and impacts each individual in different ways. Every autistic child is different with their strengths and needs, this indicates the different level of support and intervention needed. 

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), have SLCN. They have difficulty with social interaction and social communication. This affects 1% of all children of every race, ethnic group, and socioeconomic background. It is four times more common among boys than among girls. This is largely due to how symptoms differ in girls and so the signs can go undetected or misdiagnosed. Autistic children and young people may also have language difficulties (Language Disorder) which will impact their ability to understand and use spoken language. These difficulties may impact on a child’s ability to engage in classroom learning, share their ideas and thoughts and make and keep friendships. As children get older they may find it difficult to understand why they think and process the world differently to their friends.

Children with autism have difficulties with:


  • Has problems making eye contact with others
  • Has problems making friends or interacting with other children
  • appear to be insensitive
  • seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
  • not seek comfort from other people

Communication symptoms

  • Does not communicate well with others
  • Starts speaking at a later age than other children or doesn’t speak at all
  • When the child is able to speak, doesn’t use speech in social settings
  • Repeats words or phrases (echolalia) or repeats parts of dialogue from TV or movies
  • Taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
  • Needing extra time to process information or answer questions

Behavior symptoms

  • Does repeated movements, such as rocking or flapping fingers or hands
  • May experience over or under-sensitivity to touch,sound,colours, pain, temperatures or light – Many children will avoid situations such as going to school due to their sensitivity issues that can cause them to be overwhelmed and cause sensory overload
  • May have preferred interests such as favourite books/films or certain topics. This can impact their interactions with others as they will be overly focused on their preferred interests/topics of conversation.  
  • Have difficulty with attention. They may have difficulty  focusing and paying attention and moving between activities (particularly ones they really like). 
  • Difficulties managing changes in routine particularly those that are unexpected.

If your child has a diagnosis of autism, accurate and early intervention is key to getting them the support that they need. It is important to identify and tailor support strategies to meet your child’s needs. What may work for one child, may not for another. The autism diagnosis process can be daunting and overwhelming, with many families struggling to access adequate support post diagnosis. Early intervention is crucial to ensuring children and young people with autism are able to thrive, learn and achieve. it can help their parents to get a better understanding of their child’s needs, and help school staff to understand more about how to support them. 

We are pleased to announce this week that we will be launching our own Autism Assessment Panel, consisting of a specialist team of healthcare professionals with expertise in this area, in order to provide more support to families seeking specialist autism services. This panel will be a collaborative and straightforward process which is easy for parents to access. Our Assessment is carried out by our team of multiple healthcare professionals, and follows the NICE guidelines to provide diagnosis and follow-up treatment options as required. Every autistic child is different but we have a range of tools to support you and your child to achieve their full potential.



Do you think your child has autism or have they been recently diagnosed?  


Register your interest by signing up to our Autism Assessment Panel waiting list by following link: https://forms.gle/FQZM7qtQ41QveYb6A



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