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Common Speech & Communication Difficulties Associated With Autism

Mar 15th, 2016 | by NAPA Team


March 15th, 2016

Autism has the capability of effecting speech, language development, and social communication in numerous ways.

Speech Difficulties

A person with autism may:

  • Hum or talk in a musical way
  • Parrot or often repeat what another person says
  • Not talk at all
  • Utter grunts, cries, shrieks, or throaty, harsh sounds
  • Use the right phrases and sentences, but with an unexpressive tone of voice
  • Babble with word-like sounds
  • Use foreign-sounding “words” or robotic-like speech

About one in three people with autism has trouble constructing speech sounds to effectively communicate. The person’s language, if present, may simply be too difficult to understand.

Communication Difficulties for Children with Autism

A person with autism may have one or more of these communication challenges:

  • Memorization of things heard without knowing what’s been said
  • Trouble with conversational skills, which include eye contact and gestures
  • Lack of creative language
  • Trouble understanding the meaning of words outside the context where they were learned
  • Reliance on echolalia – the repeating of another’s words as they are being said as a main form of communication
  • Little understanding of the meaning of words or symbols

Autism Social Skills

Because of challenges like these, a child with autism must be able to do more than just learn how to speak. The child also has to learn how to use language to communicate. This includes knowing how to hold a conversation. It also includes tuning into both verbal and nonverbal cues from other people, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.



NAPA Center is a renowned provider of speech therapy programs, with qualified speech therapists who specialize in treating all forms of autism patients.

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