ASD Characteristics: List of Communication Deficits

All people with autism spectrum disorders experience language and communication difficulties, although there are considerable differences in language ability among individuals. Some individuals are nonverbal while others have extensive language with deficits in the social use of language. People with autism spectrum disorders may seem caught up in a private world in which communication is unimportant. This is not an intentional action but rather an inability to communicate.

Characteristics of Communication and Language Difficulties

Difficulties with nonverbal communication

– inappropriate facial expressions

– unusual use of gestures

– lack of eye contact

– strange body postures

– lack of mutual or shared focus of attention

Delay in or lack of expressive language skills

Significant differences in oral language, for those who do develop language

– odd pitch or intonation

– faster or slower rate of speech than normal

– unusual rhythm or stress

– monotone or lilting voice quality

A tendency to use language to have needs met, rather than forsocial purposes

Repetitive and idiosyncratic speech patterns

“The student may be using echolaic utterances to rehearse what is heard in order to process the information, or as a strategy for self-regulation.” Prizant and Duchan, 1981

Echolalic speech, immediate or delayed literal repetition of the speech of others

– appears to be non meaningful, but may indicate an attempt to communicate

– indicates the ability to produce speech and imitate

– may serve a communication or cognitive purpose for the student

Restricted vocabulary

– dominated by nouns

– often confined to requests or rejections to regulate one’s physical environment

– limited in social functions

Tendency to perseverate on a topic

—that is, to continuallydiscuss one topic and have difficulty changing topics

Difficulty with the pragmatics of conversation

– problems initiating communication

– difficulty using unwritten rules

– inability to maintain conversation on a topic

– inappropriate interrupting

– inflexibility in style of conversation, stereotypic style of speaking

People with autism spectrum disorders often have difficulty comprehending verbal information, following long verbal instructions and remembering a sequence of instructions. The comprehension of language may be context-specific. The extent of difficulty varies among individuals, but even those who have normal intelligence, usually referred to as high-functioning, may have difficulty comprehending verbal information.

Source: Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Related Articles:

Complete List of All Articles on Autism Spectrum Directory

Checklist of Characteristics of the Autism Spectrum – Perceptions and Reality

Communication in an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Working Towards Understandable Speech

SOLUTION CHART for Social and Communication Difficulties for People on the Autism Spectrum

Reference: List of iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone Apps for the Autism Spectrum


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