The ability of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to use language and communicate, depends on their social and intellectual development. Many children with ASD are not able to communicate using language or speech. Others may have limited speaking skills. But on a whole, ASD communication challenges affect most children on the spectrum. These challenges impede the ability of children with autism to interact with others, particularly those from their own age group.
Children with autism, who are able to speak, are often incoherent in their speech. Things that they say, may have no meaning or have no relation to the conversation. For instance, a child with ASD communication challenges, may continuously repeat a word he/she has recently picked up. This is known as echolalia. When a child with autism repeats the words he/she has just picked up, it is called immediate echolalia. A child’s response to a question could be asking the same question. In case of delayed echolalia, the child would repeat words heard earlier.
Many children with autism speak in a high-pitched tone. This is one of the major ASD communication challenges. Other children often use stock phrases to begin a conversation. For instance, a child with autism may say, “My name is Susanne,” even when she talks to her family and friends. Yet others may repeat what they have heard on TV programs or commercials.
A child with autism may deliver a monologue about a topic which he/she is interested in. But they may not be able to carry on a two-way conversation.