Language and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Children may or may not have speech delays and be on the autism spectrum; however, most all children/students on the autism spectrum have language delays, and many receive services for language development.

As educators, co-workers, and friends (people in general), it is important to understand language as relates to autism.

Students on the spectrum may or may not:

  • understand body language, understand turn-taking/social skills, understand similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, understatements, clichés, and idioms
  • use the correct word/put their words in the correct order, or use correct grammar
  • have processing delays and need extra wait time
  • be interested in only their topics of choice and perseverate (e.g. only want to discuss Thomas the Train), think from detail to big picture, have difficulty generalizing concepts and using their imagination

These are generalities, and it is important to always keep the individual in mind before any generalization. 

Many of the skills and concepts above must be taught directly.