How Autism can affect conversational skills

14 Mar 2018

BY: speechsolution


Autism Spectrum Disorder. Also known as, ASD can effect communication in many different ways.

Some children with ASD use verbal communication while others do not.

According to ASHA, some areas of communication that can be affected are repetition, rigid language,  nonverbal cues, and ability to navigate across new topics.

Today we want to chat about the most common areas affected and how Speech Language Pathologists can help.



1. Repetition and Echolalia

  • Some children with Autism will exhibit repetition in their speech and language. For example, they might repeat a phrase that they hear someone say, and repeat it for the rest of the day. We call this echolalia. Echolalia is a normal developmental step that children use in order to learn language; however, children on the spectrum might present this past the term that we deem “normal” for echolalic language. Recent research shows that echolalia may be a positive step in the development of communication for kiddos on the spectrum. SLP’s can help to shape this stage of their development into intentional communicative speech. For more information on echolalia treatment visit

2. Nonverbal cues

  • Nonverbal cues significantly influence social interactions and conversations. Nonverbal cues include: eye contact, facial expressions, and body language. These cues are often just as important as spoken words. When children on the spectrum have difficulty with nonverbal cues this can make holding a conversation with peers very difficult. SLP’s can help practice and implement the understanding of nonverbal cues using many different social strategies for functional communication.

3.Specific areas of interest

  • Some children on the spectrum may present with focusing on specific areas of high interest. As a result, these children often have difficulty holding conversations about other topics. They may also have difficulty picking up on social cues from other people when they are no longer interested in the topic. SLP’s can help introduce social cues and body language to a child’s development. 


If you have any further questions about how SLP’s can help with these skills, feel free to contact us.


Speech Solutions