Speech and rhythm

  • People with autism may have damage to the speech processing areas of the brain – understanding speech (Wernicke’s area) and speech production (Broca’s area). In addition, communication between these two areas may be compromised.
  • Using objects of reference can bypass such miscommunication between the speech areas of the brain by providing physical, external clues.
  • Some autistic people may understand what is said to them but be unable to organise the muscles needed for speech to produce a response.


This series of short films shows an extended conversation  between Phoebe Caldwell (DSc, Expert Responsive Communication Practitioner who has worked with autistic people for 45 years) and Janet Gurney (BA, PGCT, Director of Training for Us in a Bus, a service based in Surrey that supports adults and children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism).