Social Communication Difficulties and Autism

Vogindroukas I. (2008), Social Communication Difficulties and Autism, 3rd National Congress Bulgaria, Association of Bulgarian Logopedists, Romel Publications

Autism is a pervasive development disorder (DSM-IV, 1994, ICD-10 1992). The essential features of the Autistic Disorder have been described as :
a) presence of a markedly abnormal or impaired development in social interaction and communication,
b) and a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests (DSM-IV 1994, ICD-10 1992).
As autism involves an impairment of social communication (Wing, 1979, 1996) children across the autistic spectrum may not acquire language in the same way as normally developing children. As Newson (1979) suggests children with autism have difficulties not just in speech and language but in coding in any of the early communication modes, such as facial expression, gesture and other body language and impairment of social timing.
In the practice of the Child Psychiatry Centre of Thessaloniki parents usually seek professional help when their child does not develop speech by the third year of his/her life. Although they might already have noticed that their child is quite different from other children, it is only when speech fails to develop that they become really concerned. The basic characteristics of the social communication difficulties in autism are presented.