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Thinking in Speech®

Thinking in Speech: Developed by an autistic SLP for autistic children


What is Thinking in Speech?

Thinking in Speech is a neurocognitive therapy, for a neurocognitive disorder. It’s developer, Janice Nathan, M.S., CCC-SLP grew up in an autistic family with an autistic brother and mother, and father. Janice, too, is autistic. Thus, Thinking in Speech has been developed from the perspective of an autistic person.


Why Thinking in Speech is Innovative?


The voice in our head we use when thinking is called “Inner speech” (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015). The ability to use inner speech is critical for problem-solving, and is the foundation for effective self-regulation (Alderson-Day, et. al., 2018; Fahy, 2014; Morin, et al., 2018). Research shows that autistic children have underdeveloped inner speech (Whitehouse, et al., 2006). Without inner speech, these children cannot adapt to new situations, and cannot talk themselves through stressful experiences — resulting in greater anxiety and more emotional meltdowns. Thinking in Speech is the only therapy that develops inner speech in autistic individuals!

Special Recognitions


Thinking in Speech was recognized for its innovative approach to autism treatment  by the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute where it was selected for their 2019 NSF-funded Pitt Ventures First Gear program, and by Pitt’s Clinical Translation & Science Institute where it received a 2020 Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh) Award. Her poster session paper, “Turning Behavior and Anxiety into Communication for Social Problem-Solving by Thinking in Speech®,” was presented in 2019 at the 12th Annual International Autism Europe Congress, in Nice, France.

How Thinking in Speech is Different

Thinking in Speech is not a prescriptive therapy like Applied Behavior Analysis or social skills training; there is not a set of defined activities or worksheets that the therapist uses to elicit a response from a child. Instead, Thinking in Speech is a research-based, neurocognitive therapy. We are not trying to elicit new behaviors; we are trying to activate better ways of thinking that help autistic children solve any problems they may face in real-world situations. 

Our Mission

•   Autistic children become independent problem-solvers who are able to self-regulate and solve problems in stressful situations independently, without help from adults.

•   Parents have a new understanding of autism, and become effective advocates for their autistic children.

•   Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other professionals learn to use this new, research-based innovative intervention that helps autistic children improve their self-esteem, coping skills, and  problem-solving ability in school, at home, and in everyday social interactions.

Presentation Paper on Thinking in Speech

Purchase the Book

You can purchases our book, Thinking in Speech at the following locations:



Alderson-Day, B. & Fernyhough, C. (2015). Inner speech:  development, cognitive functions, phenomenology, and neurobiology. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 931-965.

Alderson-Day, B., Mitrenga, K., Wilkinson, S., McCarthy-Jones, S., & Fernyhough, C. (2018). The varieties of inner speech questionnaire - Revised (VISQ-R): Replicating and refining links between inner speech and psychopathology. Consciousness and cognition, 65, 48–58.

Fahy, J.K. (2014). Language and Executive Functions: Self-Talk for Self-Regulation. SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education. 21, 61-71.

Morin, A., Duhnych, C., & Racy, F. (2018). Self‐reported inner speech use in university students. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 32, 376-382.

Whitehouse, A. J. O., Maybery, M. T., & Durkin, K. (2006). Inner speech impairments in autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 857–865.

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