News Release Center

5/24/2017 12:00:00 AM CENTRAL
Updated: 5/24/2017 3:34:29 PM CENTRAL
For more information, contact Cora Gremaud.
Autism One of the Fastest Growing Developmental Disorders in the United States

With 1 in 68 children now estimated to have autism spectrum disorder, community support is critical. During May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month, Perry County Memorial Hospital speech-language pathologist, Ann Brewster, asks residents to use this as an opportunity to consider how they communicate and interact with people with autism.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social communication and social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat children with autism. They help in areas including communication skills and social skills.

“Everyone can play a role in fostering an inclusive atmosphere for children and adults with autism, whether at school, in workplaces, in local businesses, and throughout our society,” Brewster notes.

Brewster offers these tips:

Reach out. People with autism want to make social connections just like everybody else, but it might be more difficult for them. Make an effort to engage the person in conversation or to invite them to participate in an activity.

Be patient. Give the person additional time to speak and respond. Don’t try to finish the person’s sentence or thought for them.

Modify your communication. Rephrase what you say if the person doesn’t understand or respond the first time. Use visual cues, or write your message down. Go the extra mile to be a good communication partner!

Don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume you know what the person wants or what they are thinking. Ask them!

“This is a great time for parents to talk to their kids about classmates or friends with autism—how they can include them, be kind, and better understand that despite some differences, they are similar in many more ways than they are different,” Brewster said.

Brewster also states that parents who have concerns about their own child should contact a professional.

“We know from research as well as practical experience that the earlier treatment begins for a child with autism, the better their outcomes,” said Brewster. “For parents who have questions about their child’s development, don’t delay. The time is now to seek an evaluation. There is nothing to lose but a lot to gain if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

To contact Ann Brewster, MA, CCC-SLP, or Bethany Rhodes, MA, CCC-SLP, call PCMH Therapy Services at 573-768-3400.