SpeechPathology.comPhone: 800-242-5183

New master brand. Same great company. Introducing continued! Read Our Story

Signature Healthcare

Social Communication Deficits in Asperger's Syndrome: A Case Study

Social Communication Deficits in Asperger's Syndrome: A Case Study
Celeste Domsch, PhD
February 16, 2004



Roger was an 8 year-old boy, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). He had a very high IQ, and enjoyed reading college-level chemistry textbooks. His social communication deficits were recorded, treated and reviewed. A "self-management" strategy to treat (reduce or eliminate) rocking and hand flapping was initiated.


Following 13 treatment sessions, rocking was reduced, but hand flapping remained unchanged. Observers judged the child's behavior to be more appropriate following treatment than prior to treatment. Self-management appeared effective in reducing the occurrence of at least one atypical communication behavior and improving overall appropriateness for this child.


This study examined how Roger's impaired social and communication behaviors were treated and what outcomes were observed.


Historic Perspective:


Though AS first appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersFourth Edition in 1994 (APA), it takes its name from a paper by Dr. Hans Asperger, published in Germany sixty years ago (1944). Dr. Asperger described a syndrome whose clinical presentation included; impaired social interaction, repetitive activities and interests, and the use of pedantic language.


The impaired social interaction of children with AS is not due to a desire to withdraw from social contact. Rather, according to Wing, "the problem arises from a lack of ability to understand and use the rules governing social behavior" (1981, p.116). These rules are, as Wing notes, unwritten, complex and can affect speech, gesture, posture, movement and eye contact.


AS is thought by some to be a mild variant of autism. In European countries, AS is considered a subgroup of Autistic Spectrum Disorders; whereas in the USA, AS is referred to as a subgroup of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Children with AS demonstrate eccentric behavior, often resulting in social isolation. Their speech production is peculiar due to abnormal inflection and repetitive patterns. Clumsiness in articulation and gross motor behavior is common. Often, AS patients have areas of intense interest, such as automobiles, French Literature, door knobs, cappucino, astronomy or history (Ozbayrak, 1996), or, as in Roger's case, chemistry.

celeste domsch

Celeste Domsch, PhD

Related Courses

Autism and Severe Cognitive Impairment - Where do I start?
Presented by Lynn M. Dudek, M.S., M.B.A., CCC-SLP


Lynn M. Dudek, M.S., M.B.A., CCC-SLP
Course: #6193 1 Hour
  'Case studies helped with practical ideas on how to evaluate, write goals, and treat patients effectively'   Read Reviews
Speech pathologists are faced with a varied caseload. When treating children with autism and severe cognitive disorders it can be very difficult knowing where to start and what goals to set. This course will address the specific needs of these very early learners.

Theory of Mind Therapy to Boost Social Skills and Comprehension of Literature
Presented by Carol Krakower, MA, CCC-SLP


Carol Krakower, MA, CCC-SLP
Course: #6293 1 Hour
  'Presenter explains Theory of Mind in clear, methodical manner'   Read Reviews
Theory of Mind has been thought to be a core deficit in children with autism. A child who is impaired in the ability to understand what another can perceive, what another can know and what another can believe will find it difficult to navigate social situations and understand basic stories and conversations. Theory of Mind can be taught on a developmental basis. Not only will this make a great difference to your student, it is fun! In this course, you will learn what Theory of Mind is and creative ways to teach it through stories and games.

AAC Intervention Strategies for Social Competency
Presented by Trina Becker, MS, CCC-SLP


Trina Becker, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #6438 1 Hour
  'Great real life videos'   Read Reviews
Social skills for AAC users are important for establishing connections with others, developing friendships and functioning in the community. Strategies for developing social competency skills with AAC users will be shared.

Treatment to Improve Timing & Synchronization of Critical Neural Networks for Speech, Language, and Cognitive-Communicative Abilities; presented in partnership with Interactive Metronome
Presented by Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP


Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #6508 1 Hour
  'Very inspiring presentation'   Read Reviews
Synchronous timing of neural networks is critical for the core skills of attention, working memory, processing accuracy/speed, and executive functions that underlie speech, language and cognitive-communicative function in people of all ages. Researchers have identified that many of the individuals we see for SLP services exhibit impaired neural timing & synchronization, including those diagnosed with Dyslexia and other reading disorders, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Aphasia associated with stroke and acquired brain injury, cognitive-communicative impairments associated with acquired brain injury, and cognitive and motor planning/sequencing impairments seen in Parkinson’s disease. This course will introduce you to a patented, non-invasive biometric technology, called the Interactive Metronome, that is specifically designed to help you objectively evaluate and treat this underlying impairment in timing & rhythm in order to achieve better SLP treatment outcomes.

Fluency Disorders in the ASD Population
Presented by Kathleen Scaler Scott, PhD, CCC-SLP


Kathleen Scaler Scott, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #6580 1 Hour
  'This course helped guide my search through current literature on ASD and stuttering (particularly WFDs)'   Read Reviews
This course will present the latest information regarding what is known and unknown about the presence, possible causes, and potential effective treatments of fluency disorders in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Advanced review of cognitive features of ASDs which may play a role in assessment and treatment of disfluencies will be discussed. Examples of practical application of existing information will be presented.