Skip to main content

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

Learn About Social Deficits in Autism

by Jaime Friedman

February 08, 2023


Communication and social skills can be a measure of your child’s developmental progress. If you start to notice your child presenting skills deficits in these areas, it may be time to discuss your observations with your child’s pediatrician.

Development of Communication and Social Skills

New parents will begin to notice as their child develops new skills and habits. Learning about your child in their early stages is not just important for bonding; you can also help monitor your child’s progression to ensure they are achieving developmental milestones at appropriate ages. Much like when a pediatrician measures your child’s height or weight to check their physical development, they will also ask about your child’s growth in communication and social skills to determine if further services are recommended.

Communication skills and social skills deficits are commonly linked to expressive language disorders, receptive-expressive language disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. If you notice communication or social skills deficits, talk to your pediatrician, and they will be able to assess your child and determine if a referral should be made.

Noticing Skills Deficits in Children

Everyone grows at their own pace, but significant developmental delays may indicate to your child’s pediatrician that a referral to a specialist should be made. While a pediatrician can make recommendations about screening, your child will need to see a specialist to initiate the screening process and receive a diagnosis.

Sharing a record of your child’s growth with a specialist could help them understand your child’s needs faster and start a treatment plan designed to address those needs. Parental input is highly encouraged, as it provides a more complete picture of your child’s strengths and needs. If your child is in need of an intervention, it may be implemented across different settings, including at home, at school or out in the community. Mental and behavioral health professionals often assess clients in a controlled setting to make a diagnosis, but treatment often takes place in every day settings. 

If you are unsure about when your child should be achieving developmental milestones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a list of milestones organized by age on their website. You can also consult with your child’s pediatrician.

How Parents Can Take Action

Parents noticing developmental delays in their children should consult with their pediatrician. If the pediatrician offers a referral, the next step is to make an appointment with a specialist. There may be a waitlist for specialists, but parents can take this time to learn about the things their child does well and to learn about the things their child needs help with. If a diagnosis is made, the specialist will provide recommendations to the parents and the appropriate personnel working with your child.

Learning Disorders Linked to Problems with Social Skills

Problems in social skills or communication skills could be signs of a learning disorder. Someone diagnosed with a learning disorder is not incapable of learning, they just need a different amount of support or a different approach to learning. When a child receives a diagnosis, it can be easier to find learning tools that are specific to their condition.Autism Speaks, for example, offers a list of strategies to support social skill development in children with ASD.

Aspire Child & Family Services specializes in the treatment of children with Autism and related developmental disabilities by providing high quality IBHS-ABA. Contact our office to learn more: