I have been thinking this week about the questions I get asked the most during my working week. I can't answer all of them, but I always try to give honest feedback:
1. Does my child have Autism? This one comes up a lot. Especially with new assessments and enquiries I receive. Speech and Language Therapists can't diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder, but the information we can provide can help other professionals to reach a decision about suitable diagnosis. We can provide information about social skills, play, language and imagination....all skills which children with ASD often struggle with.
2. Will my child's speech/language get better? A tricky one to answer, because it depends on the nature of the difficulties. I have often wished there was a magic wand to solve communication difficulties.....sadly there is not. Hard work, consistency and working together are the necessary approaches.
3. Is it my fault my child has communication difficulties? Overwhelmingly often the answer is.....No. Parents often turn to themselves when looking for a reason why their child is experiencing communication difficulties. We often cannot pinpoint a reason, which is frustrating.
4. Are my child's difficulties linked to other communication needs other members of our family have? It's possible. We know there can be patterns of difficulties within families, and that's why Speech and Language Therapists (and other medical professionals) often do a detailed case history. It helps to spot patterns and have an understanding of the wider picture.
5. Will my child be able to make friends? Understandably parents worry a lot about social and emotional wellbeing, but particularly when their child has communication needs. They worry about isolation and bullying. I always work really closely with parents and school staff to ensure that everyone has a good understanding of a child's needs, and I give advice around how to include and encourage social skills in children with communication difficulties.
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