How Speech Therapy Is Used as a Treatment for Asperger's

How Speech Therapy Is Used as a Treatment for Asperger’s

Getting started on a treatment plan early leads to better results. this shouldn’t be surprising as most of life benefits from human inertia. The more of something you do, the better you tend to be at it.

When it comes to finding an effective treatment for Asperger’s, the same ideas apply. Essentially, if a child (or adult) lacks socialization, they tend to keep going on that trend. The more socialization practice you can provide, the better they will do.

That isn’t to say that all socialization is the same. confronting issues in the wrong way intensify entrenchment and lead to more isolation. That’s why you want to look for speech therapy providers that know how to promote positive interactions.

Keep reading to learn more about how speech therapy helps improve socialization and behavioral skills.

Tempering Expectations

As the presentation of Asperger’s varies greatly between people, expect the treatment path to also vary.

Progress gained may seem to disappear and breakthroughs may seem night and day. It’s tempting to create an ever upward expectation of treatment than harm those being treated.

Be objective in charting changes to understand the full extent of treatment and stop yourself from putting undue pressure on someone fighting to improve.

The more stressed and expectant you are, the more treatment fails to reach its goals. You also risk burning out, causing harm to your own stability.

Cognitive Treatment for Asperger’s

Speech therapy is an extension of cognitive-behavioral therapy. As such, you should understand the goals they share to understand how speech therapy functions.

With cognitive treatment, the goal is to reduce issues associated with Asperger’s. These include depression, anxiety, and learned or associated aversions.

The emphasis of such therapy for Asperger’s is to make a person feel comfortable and able. The more at ease, the better the person can perform and associate positives to the experiences.

A subsection of cognitive-behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA) has shown the most encouraging results in encouraging positive behaviors and limiting negative ones.

Speech Specific Treatment for Asperger’s

Unlike other forms of Autism, which often restrict language development, those with Asperger’s tend to have typical language capability. However, they are not always great at modulating their volume or tone to be appropriate to the situation.

In using speech as an Asperger’s Syndrome treatment, the emphasis is on the efficacy of language over precision or vocabulary.

Nonverbal queues are also taught, though these may not be the most important to focus on since the increasing prevalence of screens and distance communications.

Speech therapy works on three main avenues to make a person more comfortable and confident in dealing with social situations. These include eye contact and posture from nonverbal skills. For the verbal, intonation and volume control are taught.

It can be difficult to think of nonverbal skills as part of ‘speech therapy’ but it’s well understood the linking between what we say and how we say it.

Eye Contact

Eye contact goes unnoticed when it’s being done and becomes awkward when it isn’t. We expect the people we speak with to look at us as we talk. This shows a level of empathy and attention that we associate with respect and honesty.

It isn’t always the most pressing thing for communicating information, of course. That is why you get information out of a speech, even if not being addressed directly.

However, it’s known that you get more out of a one on one situation because of this bond.

Speech therapy looks to create this bond through repetition and reward, engaging those with Asperger’s to gain confidence in a technique they would rather avoid.

Posture

Body posture includes how we present ourselves to others as well as facial expressions.

You probably unconsciously interpret body posture and facial expressions all day. A person turning away from you is done with a conversation. A person trying but unable to turn away is avoiding the conversation.

A knitted brow shows concern and a smile indicates happiness. For those without an intuitive understanding of these expressions, it is important to teach them through repetition and reinforcement.

Intonation

If you aren’t a professional actor or even an amateur one, you may not pay a lot of attention to inflections you place on words.

A raised vowel at the end of a sentence tends to indicate a question. On the other hand, trailing off may mean a lack of conviction or a lack of interest.

It is equally important to be able to interpret intonation as it is to use it. Following a conversation thread, especially with multiple speakers, gets rough when the direction is unknown.

Try muting a television show and watching a dramatic scene with subtitles. Then unmute and watch it again. You’ll quickly see how much stock you place in how a set of words are spoken.

Volume

Lacking the specific social queues of setting and restraint, those with Asperger’s use whatever volume suits them.

If they get excited, it’s easy for them to speak at full volume and keep going, regardless of how loud anyone else is. In the reverse, they are also likely to speak quietly when sad and not enunciate.

Frustration

Treating Asperger’s takes a lot of time and patience. The more you press on a single concept, the more likely you will get shut out.

We all have a topic that bothers us to revisit, especially when we don’t understand key parts of the overall principle. This goes double for those with Asperger’s, especially when they don’t see the point of trying.

They do poorly with repeated statements and similar word choices but may respond to everything with a pat response.

In speech therapy, the idea is to keep the positive trends reinforced and redirect negative behaviors like staid language. You can help a lot by learning to avoid the same negative behaviors.

Be Heard

Speech therapy is one tool in the box. It may be the most beneficial part of a treatment for Asperger’s or only one of many. Keep your expectations grounded and learn alongside your loved one.

For further information and concerns about our treatment offerings, contact us.