presented by Gail J. Richard
Impairment in social interaction is a core feature of autism spectrum disorders. The social isolation aspect of the disorder presents significant challenges when attempting to assess social communication skills. In the school setting, formal assessment procedures that yield a standard score for comparison to peers are often preferred to informal methodologies. This course will review some of the current formal assessment procedures, including checklists, which can be used in the school setting to document social communication deficits.
Gail J Richard, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, worked in the public schools in Iowa for four years before joining the faculty at Eastern Illinois University, where she has been for 35 years. She was Chair of the Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences for 14 of those years, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, and supervising in the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. She is currently a professor emeritus and Director of the Autism Center and Students with Autism Transitional Education Program (STEP) at Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Richard specialized in childhood developmental language disorders, with expertise in autism, auditory and language processing, syndrome disorders, selective mutism, language-learning disabilities, and executive functions. She has numerous clinical publications, including The Language Processing Test, Differential Screening Test for Processing Disorders, The Source for Processing Disorders, The Source for Selective Mutism, The Source for Development of Executive Functions, The Source for Syndromes, The Source for ADD/ADHD, The Source for Autism, several clinical materials, book chapters, and articles. She has given over 500 presentations in her professional career and enjoys sharing her practical clinical knowledge with practitioners. Dr. Richard has been very engaged with professional organizations, including the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She served in many roles, with the highlight being President of ASHA in 2017. She is a Fellow of ASHA and received Honors from ISHA, as well as numerous college teaching and service awards. Her other activities included Faculty Athletics Representative for EIU and service on the NCAA Management Council, which resulted in her induction to the EIU Athletics Hall of Fame!
Aberrant behaviors of social interaction are among the earliest signs of an autism spectrum disorder in young children. The major characteristics and impact of social deficits will be explained in this chapter.
Checklists allow caregivers and teachers to provide information regarding social interaction in various settings and with a variety of people. Observation instruments can generate a much fuller snapshot of a child’s social interaction and communication. A sample of options will be explained, including some that provide comparison data and others that provide informal clinical impressions.
Assessment of social communication with standardized instruments can be challenging for individuals with ASD, but is certainly possible. Four example tests will be presented and then three case summaries will incorporate test results to determine treatment goals.