Speech & Language Disorders

We provide assessment and treatment services for a wide range of disorders including the following. Click on the link for a brief outline of each disorder:

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes all levels of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Autism is a neurological condition which affects communication, behaviour and socialization. It presents in children before the age of 3 and is a pervasive developmental disorder which changes but remains throughout life. It is said to be present in 1/160 people in Ireland.

The exact causes of Autism are unknown. Current research is investigating complex genetic mutations, which can occur in embryonic development.

Children with Autism have delayed language, difficulty using and understanding the language they do have, inability to play and socialize appropriately, and have rigidity in behaviour in a variety of settings. Up to 10% of Autistic children are said to have autistic savants which are special abilities including learning specific subjects or topics, artistic talent or memorization. Up to 75% of children have dietary restrictions or anxieties and most children with Autism have extra sensory needs.

Early diagnosis and intervention is a key factor in managing children with Autism. Only 50% of children are referred for Speech and Language or Psychological assessment before the age of 18 months, a further 20-30% will be detected by 24 months. Most of these are referred due to language difficulties or unusual behaviours in comparison to peers.

Speech and Language intervention for Autistic children will include methods such as communication development through verbal or non verbal ( PECS, LAMH, Alternative communication) methods, consultation on ABA tuition programmes, play therapy, social skills development, receptive language


work and pragmatics, including:

  • play skills
  • ability to answer questions
  • ability to make choices
  • grammar and use of grammar in conversation
  • time concepts
  • ability to explain or tell stories
  • ability to read body language and understand emotions
  • conversation skills
  • friendship development
  • social and polite communication
  • understanding and using language out of context.

For information and support networks connected to Autism, visit the following sites: www.autism.ie & www.autismireland.ie

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a disorder, which is said to affect up to 5% of children in Ireland. There are different types of ADHD, including; inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Children with ADHD can have speech and language difficulties due to the following:

  • lack of concentration for listening tasks
  • forgetfulness
  • poor attention for language tasks resulting in missing information
  • not following through on instructions
  • not listening to questions and therefore not being able to answer
  • being impulsive about answering and not being appropriate in conversational turn-taking.

The cause of ADHD is unknown but research has shown links with genetics, diet and environment. Speech and language therapy can help a child to learn to focus better for language and learning tasks, teach vocabulary and grammar he/she may have missed as a result of inattention and give strategies to stay on task in a learning environment such as the classroom.

For more information see www.adhd.ie

Intellectual Disability

An Intellectual Disability is a result of below average IQ which impacts on all areas of learning. Intellectual Disability can range from mild to profound.

Conditions commonly associated with Intellectual Disability are Down’s syndrome, Kline-Felter syndrome and Rhett’s syndrome but causes are often unknown. Typically, children with Intellectual Disabilities learn language at a much slower rate than their peers. This is due to speech and language being an extremely complex skill in development. However, with the right support and intervention, people with Intellectual Disability can succeed in all areas of life.

Hence, a Speech and Language Therapist provides vital intervention for many children and adults with Intellectual Disability. Therapy may include working on the muscles of speech, learning vocabulary, literacy skills, understanding conversation, questions and directions and forming sentences.

Ideally, a Speech and Language Therapist would work with a person with Intellectual Disability over a long developmental period from childhood to later school years and even into adulthood if necessary. The methods of intervention and the targets required for learning would change through different stages of development. A holistic and collaborative approach is vital in this kind of work and parents, guardians and friends become partners in the therapy process.

For some more information visit: www.inclusionireland.ie