Communicative Disorders Program Department of Special Education

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Family-Centered Autism Spectrum Communication Clinic

The Autism Spectrum Communication Clinic is a family-centered therapy program that supports parents/caregivers to understand their children’s communication development and to develop strategies to help their children learn new communication skills. The clinic is built on the belief that the best way to support a child's wellness and developmental health is to support the family's wellness and sense of self-efficacy. It is also built on the belief that natural, authentic routines across home, school, and the community provide the best educational and treatment contexts for communication and socialization.

» Summer 2013 Clinic Brochure

About the Autism Spectrum Communication Clinic

Current research shows that language therapy for children with ASD is most effective when it targets communication in familiar and authentic social environment and with meaningful partners. The most successful programs combine the expertise of parents/caregivers with the knowledge of trained language specialists. We support families and therapeutic teams to create home and school environments that facilitate communication development in children with ASD through everyday activities. We aim to do so while honoring your family’s language and cultural practices.

This program uses a coaching approach, where instead of the speech-language pathologist (SLP) working with the children in isolation, we work with the adults who are important in the children’s lives to support the children’s learning across everyday contexts. We aim to combine the expertise of parents/caregivers with that of our own and to work jointly to achieve the parents’/caregivers’ desired outcomes for their children’s communication.

Services include a combination of information workshops for parents/caregivers, planning sessions with parents/caregivers, direct therapy with the children, and home/community visits.

We work with children across the spectrum of conditions under the autism spectrum umbrella. Every semester, the clinic focuses on a different area of therapy. Some examples include:

  • Fostering communication for young children who are not yet speaking
  • Increasing vocabulary and building sentences for beginning communicators
  • Fostering conversations for advanced communicators
  • Fostering communication with peers through play

For more information about the focus of the current or upcoming semester, contact Prof. Betty Yu at

» Summer 2013 Clinic Brochure

What to Expect in the Autism Spectrum Communication Clinic

  • Clinicians and parents plan all therapy activities jointly.
  • Anyone who cares for or teaches your child is welcome to participate anytime. Please feel free to invite them.
  • The program includes a total of 24 hours of service over 12 weeks. In 8 of those weeks, we meet on campus. Half of the on-campus meetings involve only parents/caregivers and the other half involve working with the children directly. We also offer 4 off-campus “home” visits conducted at a time and place that you and your therapists agree upon.
  • Each family will be partnered with a Graduate Student Clinician in the Communicative Disorders program who is receiving specialized training in autism spectrum disorders through Project Common Ground.
  • All student clinicians are supervised by Project Common Ground director and assistant professor, Betty Yu, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
  • Parents and clinicians work together to share relevant research, assess the child’s current skills, identify therapy goals, and implement therapy strategies
  • A comprehensive report is available at the end of the semester.
  • All program activities will be video recorded for instructional purposes.
  • Childcare is available on a limited basis.

Enrolling in the Autism Spectrum Communication Clinic

If you are interesting in enrolling in the clinic, please contact Dr. Betty Yu ( or the CD Clinic Office for an application.

CD Clinic Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4 pm

Phone: 415.338.1001


Fax: 415.338.0916

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