A recent report by the Public Health Agency of Canada states that approximately one in 66 children in Canada is diagnosed with ASD. This report has helped raise awareness regarding the prevalence of the disorder, but it is not as widely known that speech-language pathology services are integral in supporting people with ASD.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder, with each individual experiencing his or her own challenges and needs. For this reason, interprofessional care teams, with their diverse knowledge and expertise, offer the best support for people with ASD and their families.

As many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty with communication and social interaction, speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) have a distinct role on interprofessional care teams. S-LPs bring specialized expertise in all aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication to address the difficulties.  

Recognizing Collaboration

An example of this collaborative approach to autism care is the Centre for Autism Services Alberta in Edmonton. This year, SAC recognized the Centre’s interprofessional service teams with the Award of Excellence for Interprofessional Collaboration for its collaborative approach to supporting people with ASD and their families.

To highlight the role that communication health professional have in autism care, Speech-Language & Audiology Canada has also created a number of resources and documents on the subject:

     
Position Statements on the role of speech-language pathologists (left) and audiologists (right)

     
Autism Spectrum Disorder poster (left) and info sheet (right)