Current research indicates that there is a push toward the preparation of speech language pathologists (SLPs) to work with individuals with specific disorders, with a large focus on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Burnett, 2014). Given the increased prevalence of a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the US population at large (CDC, 2016), there has been a push in recent years toward the completion of additional research and the identification of as much additional information as possible in order to ensure appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and supportive services.
While each child diagnosed with ASD may fall on a different range of the spectrum, causing differences in the type and severity of symptoms displayed, current research indicates that there is a genetic component associated with such a diagnosis (CDC, 2016; Szatmari, Chawarska, Dawson, Georgiades, Landa, Lord, Messinger, Thurm, & Halladay, 2016). As SLP are tasked with assisting with various speech concerns and improving the overall quality and clarity of speech for those who have been diagnosed with an illness, with a disorder, or with an injury, it is the responsibility of the SLP to be aware of any potential diagnoses of individuals with whom they are likely to interact (Kelly, Cumming, Corry, Gilsenan, Tamone, Vella, & Bogaardt, 2016).
Given that ASD is primarily a social disorder, and one of the largest components of socialization is communication, the SLP will not find it uncommon to assist those diagnosed with ASD in improving their communication skills (Burnett, 2014; Kelley et al., 2016). To this end, it is necessary for an individual working in the field of SLP to have an appreciation and understanding of genetics in order to determine how it may be possible to best assist individuals in coping with their situation and improving their overall quality of life.