Ask A Therapist: Horn blowing for a 3-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder


I’m hoping for some advice. My 3 year old ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) son is doing TalkTools through our SLT. He couldn’t blow at all to start with so we taught him using a water flute first, now he has gone onto Horn #1 but he can’t make a sound. His neurotypical twin sister can’t either so I’m wondering if his lungs are maybe too small to be able to use this horn? (He is small – more the size of a two year old.) Our SLT said just keep trying but I’m worried it will put him off blowing as he won’t be getting any noise feedback like he did with the water flute.



Hi Claire,

I think I would continue working on the horn as your therapist recommended but I would also try using the Pre-Hierarchy Horn while bouncing on a therapy or yoga ball and providing abdominal pressure. This horn is extremely easy to blow and with the abdominal pressure and bouncing I feel you would be more likely to get a sound, which would be rewarding for your son. I do not think the lung size is the issue but that is not really a question I can answer.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

We are here and happy to help.



Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

Talktool admin 08 Dec 16

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