I think my child has Autism. What Do I do next?

If you suspect that your child has autism and he or she was not diagnosed at school, or is no yet attending school, you should contact a pediatrician to discuss your concern and obtain a referral for evaluation by a child psychologist. If your child attends public school, you should be able to get all of the services through the school. If your child is under the age of three, you should also contact the Regional Center.

Your child should be assessed by a speech language pathologist and, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapists as needed. A speech pathologist will assess your child’s speech, receptive and expressive language, and pragmatics (social use of language), and will develop a treatment plan specific to your child’s needs. A physical therapist will assess motor planning and muscle tone; some children who have autism may be clumsy or have very low muscle tone, making walking or sitting for long periods of time difficult. An occupational therapist will assess fine motor skills as well as sensory systems, as many children, who have autism may have difficulty processing information through their senses. These children with autism may require sensory integration therapy due to hypo- or hyper-sensitivity. Finally, a behavioral therapist will determine if your child presents any challenging behaviors that could interfere with learning. Issues that may be addressed include tantrums, difficulty transitioning or problems with toilet training.

Once your child is officially diagnosed, he or she should begin all necessary therapies as soon as possible. The comprehensive and team oriented approach is critical when treating children with autism as physical or sensory deficits, may have a huge impact on new learning and progress in speech/language therapy. For example, a child with autism, who is highly hypersensitive to sound, may have difficulty focusing in a speech therapy room because of fear of background sound. Another child with autism may be hyposensitive to movement and may seek out movement by jumping, rocking, or spinning, making speech therapy more difficult. Ideally, these two children should be receiving both speech and occupational therapies.

Education for parents is essential when raising a child with autism. Parents should become their child’s advocates, and to do so, they need to expand their knowledge. Parents can obtain information on autism from books, the internet, and by joining community /support groups. Common organizations and groups include Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Talk Autism, Autism Research Institute, and National Autism Association. Common support and social networks include the Autism and PDD Support Network, Parent to Parent USA, Moms Fighting Autism, Autism Support Network, Autism Parents, an Autism Speak Social Network. 

Early diagnosis and intervention lead to a better outcome for a child with autism; therefore, if you suspect that your child has autism, be sure to get help as soon as possible.

Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Beata Klarowska is an American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech and language pathologist, licensed by the state of California.Beata cofounded Virtual Speech Center Inc. in 2011 and, to date, has developed more than 30 apps for speech, language, and cognition.



By Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Autism is part of a bigger category of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), that also includes: Asperger’s disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), Rett’s Disorder and PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) - Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)



Latest Posts

  • Back to School Apps Sale 2019

    Thursday, August 15, 2019

    Back to school apps sale 2019 is here! We hope that you had a great summer and got to rest a little! To keep up with our yearly tradition of “Back to School Apps Sale”, we put a few apps for speech, language and cognition on sale this year as well.

  • Apps for Speech On Sale

    Friday, May 3, 2019

    May is the Better Hearing and Speech Month and to celebrate we offer sale on speech therapy apps.

  • Private SLP Podcast

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    Private SLP Podcast offers resources and tips for private speech and language pathologists.

Latest Apps