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Autism Spectrum Disorder Case Study: Addressing Speech Delay and Toe Walking in children

Updated: Aug 9, 2023


Autistic child with speech delay and toe walking

This case study examines the assessment and early intervention provided to a 17-month-old child presenting with concerns regarding speech delay and toe walking. The child's parents sought medical advice, leading to a referral to our center due to concerns about their child's limited speech development and tendency to walk on their toes. During the initial consultation, the child displayed restless behavior, continuously walking on their toes, and showing minimal engagement with the surroundings. The child also had a daily screen time of two hours and would hum rhymes but lacked attention to their environment. A Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT) was administered, indicating a medium risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Based on these findings, early intervention was recommended, involving five sessions per week.


Therapeutic approach and progress


During the first week of therapy, the child exhibited tantrums, screaming, and rolling on the floor. They demonstrated a preference for specific play equipment such as slides and swings and resisted sitting in one place. The initial two months focused on developing the child's listening and responding skills, as well as increasing sitting tolerance with focused attention. Intervention strategies predominantly utilized reinforcement and prompting techniques, providing consistent stimuli. By implementing these strategies, the child's escape behavior reduced within two months, and similar strategies were recommended for implementation at home by the parents.


In addition to behavior therapy, the child also received speech therapy. The focus of the speech therapy sessions was to teach receptive language skills (understanding spoken language) and expressive language skills (using words and gestures to communicate). Over the course of 40 sessions, significant improvements were observed in the child's overall development.



Conclusion of autism spectrum disorder case study


This case study demonstrates the benefits of early intervention for a child at risk of mild to moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through a comprehensive intervention program that included behavior therapy and speech therapy, significant progress was made in addressing the child's speech delay and toe walking tendencies. The child's escape behavior decreased, and their ability to engage in activities and sit for longer durations improved. Moreover, the child's receptive and expressive language skills showed substantial growth over the course of 40 sessions. Collaborating with the parents and providing strategies for continued support at home was an essential aspect of the intervention.


By addressing the child's developmental concerns at an early age, this case highlights the importance of early identification and intervention for children at risk of ASD. With ongoing therapy and support, the child is likely to experience further progress in their overall development and communication skills, improving their quality of life and future prospects.



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