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Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Delay

Child doing therapy with bubbles fingerpainting therapy with child on mini trampoline group therapy

Early Intervention Services for Children up to Age 3

One of UTHSC’s clinical programs, known as Pediatric Language Clinic (PLC), offers family-focused early intervention for children birth-to-three years of age, which are in need of specialized services due to significant social/communication/behavior delays and/or a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PLC is located on the west side of UTK’s campus. The curriculum used at PLC is the SCERTS Model which is designed to assist our Speech-Language Pathologists and graduate students in targeting appropriate skill sets and providing adequate supports for learning to take place in a variety of environments and with a variety of communication partners.

PLC is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Education as an Early Intervention Resource Agency (EIRA) at no cost to the families.  A child must meet the Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) eligibility criteria (medical diagnosis or developmental delay) in order to qualify for the program.  PLC serves children from Knox County and surrounding counties.   
Team Approach to Supporting Your Young Child 

PLC Speech-Language Pathologists/Early Interventionists collaborate with you, the TEIS service coordinator, and other members of the professional team to ensure the best provision of services to your child. Family involvement is an integral component of the PLC program as you will participate in weekly sessions, assist in the development of your child’s Individualized Family Service Plan, and help develop specific outcomes for your child. Staff members work with your child, family, caregivers, siblings, and peers to implement and promote successful carry-over of goals in a variety of environments.
Developmental Therapy 
PLC Speech-Language Pathologists/Early Interventionists deliver developmental therapy services in natural environment settings that are individualized to meet the needs of the child and family.  Options include: 
Center-based Groups: The center-based program incorporates the principles of incidental and structured teaching to create a positive group learning environment. The low child-to-staff ratio is designed to enhance social, communication and play relationships.  Family training is a key component of the group services, as a family member or caregiver is expected to stay with their child, participate in all activities, and identify skills to practice during the week.  Activities are designed to address specific developmental objectives using multiple teaching methodologies in a small group setting, and simulate activities a child may experience at home or child care. Families can drive any distance o the center-based program located at 909 Mountcastle Street in Knoxville.

Home-based Services: PLC has home-based services specialized for children and families needing the expertise of a speech-language pathologist with experience in the area of autism.  A strong emphasis is placed on family training, as you are your child’s best teacher.  Family members or caregivers are asked to take an active role in the determination of goals, prioritizing what to work on, identifying materials and activities, and carrying out strategies to help your child successfully learn through daily activities.  Home-based services are available for children primarily in Knox County or within a 20-25 mile radius of the center.
Consultation Visits: Consultation services by PLC Speech-Language Pathologists/Early Interventionists are available to other early interventionists serving TEIS children in the home. As with children enrolled in the home and center-based programs, there should be concerns about red flags of autism, or an existing diagnosis of ASD. These consultation services are available to families in the East Tennessee TEIS District which includes Knox and surrounding counties, and need is determined by the IFSP team.

Additional Services for Older Children with ASD 

UTHSC also offers speech-language services for children with ASD who are ages 3-21, including:

  • comprehensive speech-language evaluations
  • individual therapy sessions that incorporate evidence-based approaches and strategies
  • parent training to carry-over therapy goals into the home
  • emphasis on language development and social-pragmatic skills
  • use of assistive technologies as needed (visual supports, picture systems, signing, speech generating devices)
  • referral for other evaluations as needed (e.g. occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology/psychiatry, genetics, vision, behavior therapy, etc.) 

The focus of the therapy is to assist children in developing functional communication skills that will advance their social skills, academic performance, and behavioral development.  Services for this age group are delivered at the UT Hearing and Speech Center

Children diagnosed with ASD, regardless of age, are best served by providers who are familiar with the needs and tendencies of this special population. UTHSC Speech-Language Pathologists have extensive training and expertise in the area of autism treatment.

Contact Us

Early Intervention Services for Children Up to Age 3:

Pediatric Language Clinic
2023 Lake Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone 865.974.6702 
Fax 865.974.4766

Services for Older Children with ASD:

Silverstein Luper Hearing and Speech Center 
1600 Peyton Manning Pass 
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 
Phone 865.974.5451 
Fax 865.974.4639

Meet Specialty Providers:

Pediatric Language Clinic

Hearing and Speech Center

UT Conference Center

Related Links:

Oct 13, 2022