My 8-year-old with Aspergers has two verbal/speech issues that are challenging. One is a tic or stim where he clears his throat or says "um" frequently (my MIL, who is also on the spectrum, does the same thing). The other issue is that he sometimes hesitates and says "um" several times while saying a single sentence. This is most frequent when he is speaking publicly (in class, for example). It doesn't happen all the time, though. Some of his therapists have never heard it. His teachers have mentioned it, though, and said the kids are patient with him, but it is something of an issue. I know other kids do notice it and the tics. He is very bright and in a mainstream private school. We'd like to minimize the social stumbling blocks he faces as much as possible.
Our professionals have not been super helpful with this. Our speech pathologist called is "developmental disfluency" and said he should outgrow it, but it seems like that typically happens by this age. One (condescending) psychologist said he is using it as a method to preserve his space in the conversation. He does have a very slow processing speed and can be anxious. I think both are anxiety related, but can't figure out any strategies. Does anyone have ideas?