In this chapter we will consider the communicative needs of females with autism from the perspective of speech and language therapy services. First, we will familiarise ourselves with the role of SLT in autism provision. Then we will consider how speech and language difficulties present in females with autism and how these differences may have a specific impact on SLT services. We will focus on speech and language difficulties in girls with an intelligence quotient (IQ) in the typical range, because language impairment in girls with lower IQ is possibly just as well explained with reference to wider learning disabilities and autism literature. We will also focus on SLT provision through school services as this is the most likely age of involvement for our team. However, we hope that details of the cases and interventions used here can be easily applied to other ages and settings.
Both contributing authors in this chapter are practising SLTs with a specialist skill-set in autism assessment and intervention. Alexandra is a clinical specialist, diagnostician and researcher into females with autism. Etienne also works in autism provision, but her true expertise lies in her own diagnosis. She will share some of her personal reflections at the end of the chapter.