Autism Information in ASL

Revisiting old videos, I ran across this one… As a professional who specializes in intervention for those with autism spectrum disorders, I would love to be able to use my signing skills to share with the Deaf community about autism. I don’t use sign near as much as I did when I worked in Deaf Education and I am not an interpreter, so I don’t want these skills and my love of sign to go to waste!

If you are a Deaf parent or educator of a child with autism, feel free to contact me with autism-related questions, and I will make a signed video to address your inquiry. The contact information in the video is a bit out dated. The quickest way to reach me is by emailing

SVO Power & Deaf Education

Although the SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) Power app was developed with hearing individuals who had autism, there is great potential for the use of the app with those who are Deaf. The SVO Power method originated from my knowledge of the American Sign Language (ASL) syntax. I was working with learners who struggled to combine words, develop grammar and move beyond one-word utterances. I realized that we don’t need all of these “extra” parts of speech to communicate simple messages. This really got me thinking and questioning the typical goal of teaching the entire English language to learners with autism that have significant challenges in acquiring grammar.

Watch as Steven Surrency, linguist and faculty member at the University of South Florida in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, explains how Subject-Verb-Object is one of the core syntax structures of ASL (Dr. Surrency Explains SVO in ASL).

The simplicity of the SVO Power app to 1) accommodate basic communication needs and 2) supplemental language needed for educational lessons may be a perfect solution for building momentum with emerging communicators who are Deaf. It can provide an immediate platform for beginning language and learning about a wide variety of topics.

Click on individual images for a closeup example of SVO Power goals

To learn more about the app or to ask an autism-related question and receive a signed response, contact me here…

Julie Ray Roberts, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCBA-D


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