top of page

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Role of Speech-Language Pathologists

SLPs work with children with diagnosed or suspected autism who have difficulty with social communication, expressive language, auditory comprehension, and other areas of communication. Depending on the needs of the client and their family, intervention may involve individual parent training and direct intervention. 


Social communication is how we use language (vocabulary, grammar) to interact with other people. It includes skills such as making eye contact, greeting others, initiating and responding in interactions, asking for help, following the rules of conversation, and understanding others’ perspectives.


Children with autism may also have difficulty with ‘oral language’ – saying words, putting words into sentences, and understanding what others say.


Non-literal language includes inferencing (‘reading between the lines’), understanding words with multiple meanings (e.g., ‘duck’), idioms (e.g., ‘the apple of his eye’), and metaphors. Understanding non-literal language requires interpreting what is not stated explicitly and using context to deduce meaning.


Intervention typically includes parent training. Parents learn strategies to help their children develop their social communication and oral language abilities during natural activities – play, daily interactions, and routines.

Contact us to learn more. 

Information and Resources

The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada

National Autism Center at May Institute

"A Parent's Guide to Evidence-based Practice and Autism"

National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2: Addressing the need for evidence-based practice guidelines for autism spectrum disorder. Randolph, MA: National Autism Center. Retrieved from 

Oono, I. P., Honey, E. J., & McConachie, H. (2013). Parent-mediated early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013(4). doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009774.pub2

Open access:

Picture Exchange Communication System

Pyramid Educational Consultants

The Hanen Centre

Toronto, Ontario


Autism Nova Scotia

bottom of page