I offer the following assessment, diagnostic, therapy and supervision services in my NHS and private work:
Speech and language therapy assessment
The assessment will depend on the child’s age and their presenting difficulties. Assessment is key to understanding a child/young person’s difficulties and to setting relevant and appropriate targets, providing evidence-based intervention and measuring outcomes. Children and young people on the autism spectrum are complex, and for these children a wide lens can be helpful to gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and areas that need support. I take a holistic view of the child/young person. See Speech Therapy for signs your child may need therapy and what happens in assessment and therapy. See
Social communication Assessment
For example, recognising and understanding emotions; seeing things from others’ perspectives; understanding friendship and relationships; regulating emotions; social understanding; integrating information to understand situations, rather than focusing on details; non-verbal communication, etc.
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
It is important to note that the ADOS forms one part of the diagnostic process and is used together with parent and school report. Diagnosis is based on information from all three settings and is given by a Consultant Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or CAMHS team.
I use a combination of the following approaches for speech therapy and for supporting children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Condition, depending on the child’s age and individual needs, whether they are verbal or non-verbal etc. I use evidence-based practice, informed by assessment. I am fully trained and qualified in all of them.
The following are some of the approaches I use with non-verbal children/young people and children/young people without much language:
- Intensive Interaction This approach is based on how infants learn communication skills, e.g. observing your child, following their lead, using their body language and vocalisations to emotionally engage them and communicate.
- VERVE This is an approach that enables parents, carers and professionals working with a child to develop their skills to communicate with, and support, children
- Makaton signing Signing can support attention and understanding language and increase communication.
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) This approach uses pictures to teach children and young people to develop their communication skills
- Hanen (See also Early Childhood Autism). Hanen have written programs to support the development of speech, language and communication and published many wonderful resources.
The following are some of the approaches I use with older children and with children with more language:
- Supporting others to adapt the environment and their own communication to reduce anxiety and enable interactions
- Social communication. Examples of resources I use: Zones of Regulation (Leah Kuypers); comic strip conversations (Carol Gray); Talkabout (Alex Kelly); resources on social understanding and social thinking by Michelle Garcia Winner
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – I am in the second year of a masters at the Anna Freud Centre and UCL in CBT for children and young people specialising in Autism. I see supervised case studies and use CBT strategies, techniques and approaches in my social communication work.
- Supporting Executive Function skills – These skills involve attention control, filtering out distraction, remembering information, integrating information, planning how to do tasks, monitoring what you are doing, inhibiting impulses. They are important for social understanding and thinking as well as learning.
- Theory of mind, understanding things from another person’s perspective, recognising and understanding that we all have different thoughts and feelings, that we are separate individuals.
- Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Condition can impact on a child/young person’s ability to talk about personal experiences, e.g. a holiday, to tell others about films or programmes they have seen, to tell jokes, etc. as well as re telling stories and making up stories at school.
Transferring what a child/young person learns in one setting to another is a known area of difficulty in Autism Spectrum Condition and I work closely with families, schools, other professionals involved in supporting the child/young person to try to help generalisation of skills to other areas.
Other approaches I use in therapy include:
- Therapeutic Listening – a programme to support auditory processing difficulties
- SOS feeding (The sequential oral sensory feeding programme). This programme aims to broaden the range of foods a child will eat
- Responsive Communication (Intensive Interaction) – an approach that develops meaningful interactions by regulating sensory difficulties and entering the child’s inner world in order to help them joint the outer world
- Floor time – an approach that supports the development of attention, looking, listening and social interactions through work on emotional development
- Pivotal Response Treatment This is a behavioural approach, but focuses much more on communication than other behavioural approaches, e.g. ABA.
- Attention Autism
- Social Thinking
- The Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme (to support developmental verbal dyspraxia)
- Lidcombe Program (Treatment of early stuttering)
My area of specialism is Autism Spectrum Condition and I offer supervision to:
- Speech and Language Therapists carrying out the ADOS
- Speech and Language Therapists working with children and young people who are on the spectrum
- Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants supporting children and young people on the spectrum
I provide supervision in my role in the NHS and I receive regular supervision, including private supervision on the ADOS.
I provide training for school staff at all levels, including integrating speech and language therapy into educational settings.