Social communication involves both verbal and non-verbal language aspects. The interpretation and meaning of what we say is primarily conveyed through non-verbal language, that is, how we are conveying the words spoken such as through facial expression, gestures, and tone of voice. Speech-Language Pathologists evaluate many different areas, including: establishing eye contact, appropriate greetings, maintaining appropriate personal space, initiating conversation with someone, maintaining the topic of conversation, asking relevant questions, responding appropriately to questions asked, and taking turns during conversations.
Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) demonstrate difficulties in developing appropriate interactive play and social language with peers. Often children with ASD demonstrate repetitive and/or ritualistic behaviours. Speech-Language Pathologists assist with many aspects of social language and play, including facilitating turn taking and conversational skills. For students who are high functioning, we explicitly teach flexibility in thinking and perspective taking. Preschoolers suspected of an ASD are referred for a complete professional team assessment at the IWK Health Centre.
We provide a functional therapy approach tailored to the needs of the child, in conjunction with the child’s family members, health care team, preschool/school teachers, and EPA’s. Therapy includes explicit teaching and plenty of practice opportunities with regards to conversational skills and the appropriate social use of language.