Topic Areas: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Topic Chairs: Amy Donaldson and Kathryn Drager

Content Area: Speech-Language Pathology

The focus is on research and clinical advancements in understanding the diverse experiences of autistic* individuals across the lifespan in all aspects of life, including communication and language learning and use, social interaction and relationships, and life skills. Emphasis will be on improving functional outcomes across ages and all individuals, including those with comorbid conditions. Areas might include differential diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), investigations of etiologies, and assessment and treatment practices, including acknowledging the role of cultural and linguistic differences, as well as neurodiversity and disability. This topic includes interprofessional education, practice, and/or research. It also addresses the implementation of interprofessional competencies within curricular or practice models or the evaluation of collaborative care outcomes specific to ASD. (*Note: Intentional use of identity-first language; see Gernsbacher, 2017 for full discussion.)


  • Basic, applied, or translational research that advances the understanding of ASD
  • Basic, applied, or translational research related to social-communication concerns of persons with ASD

Professional Education

  • Speech, language, and social-communication in ASD
  • Theoretical models of ASD
  • Etiological and genetic models of ASD and related conditions
  • Neurobiology of ASD
  • Sensory processing disorders associated with ASD
  • Behavioral issues associated with ASD
  • Assessment of social-communicative competence in individuals with ASD
  • Treatment of social-communicative competence in individuals with ASD
  • Adaptive functioning and transitions across the lifespan
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity, including neurodiversity and disability, of individuals on the autism spectrum
  • Comorbid conditions relative to ASD
  • The role of the SLP in assessment and treatment of ASD
  • ASD and aging individuals
  • Ethical issues related to ASD service delivery
  • Neurodiversity and cultural perspectives of autism
  • Perspectives on neurodiversity as it relates to ASD
  • Technology as it relates to ASD, including AAC
  • Interprofessional issues related to ASD
  • Technology as it relates to ASD (e.g., mobile applications, devices, software, etc.)
  • Innovative service delivery models for ASD through telepractice technology

Related Topics

Proposals that have a primary focus on other areas but involve populations who have autism should be submitted to the topic of primary topic area:

  • The use of telepractice in the delivery of service that include technology-based approaches and outcomes at the system level should be submitted to the Telepractice topic area.

About ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.

About the Convention

The ASHA Convention is one of the largest professional development events for audiologists; speech-language pathologists; and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Bringing together approximately 15,000 attendees, the annual Convention offers more than 2,500 sessions eligible for ASHA continuing education credit covering the latest research, clinical skills, and techniques in communication sciences and disorders.

Contact Us

For inquiries about the ASHA Convention:

The ASHA Action Center welcomes questions and requests for information from members and non-members.

Available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. ET

Members: 800-498-2071
Non-Member: 800-638-8255

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