Role of Speech Therapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Treatment for children with a diagnosis of ASD differs depending upon their age and communication level. The following are some general ideas about what treatment will include for different age groups, However all treatment programmes will be individualized depending on child's personal communication strengths and challenges. The goal of speech therapy is to improve all aspects of communication. This includes comprehension, expression, sound production, and social use of language. The ultimate goal is to help the person communicate in more useful and effective ways.

At UDGAM our Speech and Language development therapists are trained, well qualified and experienced. We use the best and evidence based treatment approach individualized particularly for the specific needs of children.

What Does a Speech Therapist Do for People with Autism?
  1. Develop the ability to express their wants and needs
  2. If the child's speech is not adequate (means that the child isn't talking), the speech therapist introduce various forms of Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC). Depanding on requirements every child needs different techiniques. The treatment options include teaching gestural communication or training with PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), electronic talking devices, and other non-verbal communication tools.

    Body Language: Some children benefit from using their own body to communicate with others. This is also called as Sign Language. Speech therapists can teach children how to recognize various physical signals. This technique has been found very useful in children with autism and has even they start talking with their mouths more quickly than they would have without using body language.

  3. Social Interactions
  4. Children with autism have a problem with understanding socially acceptable behavior. They have a difficulty in understanding what the rules are, such as how to start a conversation, when to stop. They might also have a hard time in understanding another person's point of view. Various strategies that have been proven effective methods of social instruction Include:

    • Visual Supports: Visual reminders placed in the room or presented by adults help the child remember the expectations for that situation.
    • Reading books: Reading books and asking your child to identify and interpret the feelings of the characters can be helpful.
    • Video demonstration: The child watches videos that demonstrate how to behave in a particular situation.

  5. Communication to develop friendships and interact with peers.
  6. Children with autism have a difficulty interacting and making friends. They struggle with the spontaneity and unpredictability of conversations. However, we at UDGAM target different skills depending on the age and developmental level of the child. A structured approach that includes "identifying critical social skills and then teaching them through role-playing, models and performance feedback". The approach consist of

    • Teaching child new skills for the condition which are most likely to be encountered e.g.on the playground, in a restaurant, in the classroom, etc
    • Teaching social skills that are valued by the student's community.
    • Teaching social skills with a variety of mediums eg video, books, games etc.

  7. Learn to communicate in a way that other people understand
  8. Autistic child have sometimes idiosyncratic learning patterns and unusual language processing. As a result, children have problems developing spoken language. Speech therapist helps children to find ways to overcome these challenges and the other difficulties while communicating with others.

  9. Articulate words and sentences well
  10. Once the child progress on these major goals, we can address some of the minor issues that may also affects the child's communication. Following are few areas which need to be addressed: Grammar Errors, Problems in asking Questions and answers, Abstract language and vocabulary.

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