Is Speech Therapy for Autism Effective?
Autism speech therapy can help you or your child become better communicators over time. It is also proven to enhance social skills, attention to detail, and make better learners.
To learn more about how autism speech therapy can help you or your loved ones, keep reading this article.
The Affect Autism Has on Speech
The development of communication in autistic children is slower than it is in others. In fact, they don’t find mimicking or imitation natural like children without autism.
When children are young, they learn by mimicking and imitating the adults around them. This helps them understand the basics of communication which eventually turns into forming full sentences.
Autistic children, however, don’t learn a language this way. Instead of becoming interested in the way other people are communicating, they are more likely to pay close attention to environmental or background sounds. This can include sounds like a vacuum running or a fan blowing.
Additionally, autistic children might seem disinterested when you speak to them.
Not every autistic child communicates the same way. For instance, some may have really great vocabularies and speak in long sentences.
They often understand social cues like tone, body language, and facial expressions in social situations. Speech therapy can help both autistic children and adults become better communicators.
Benefits of Autism Speech Therapy
Speech therapy can help people with autism become better communicators. This is accomplished when a pathologist or occupational therapist teaches verbal skills they hadn’t picked up on at an early age.
Speech therapy can also help with the correct use of words and improving the rhythm and speed of speech.
Here are other ways that seeing a speech therapist is a beneficial treatment for autism:
It Teaches Spontaneous Communication
The first step in helping someone with autism is to make sure they are able to functionally and spontaneously communicate their needs. This involves the person being able to express what they want or need without being promoted or asked first.
There are a few different ways a speech therapist will go about establishing spontaneous communication. They include using sign language, picture communication, and a voice output AAC device.
Autistic children benefit greatly from using their own bodies to communicate. It’s even been said that sign language gets helps autistic children utilize verbal communication quicker than they typically would.
Picture Communication System
Sometimes using photos is the best way for an autistic child to learn how to communicate. Pictures make communication tangible and concrete for them.
Voice-Output AAC Device
If your child isn’t speaking at all, an AAC device can help them get started. The device will play a recorded message when a child presses a button.
What it says depends on the button they press.
Social Instruction and Interaction
Once a child has begun communicating, it’s important to help them do better in social situations. This will also involve learning what behaviors are socially acceptable, like manners and waiting their turn to talk.
These skills are especially important when children are in school and learning how to become a good friend. Some of the social strategies that might be included with your child’s speech therapy are:
Visual supports use photos and other visual reminders to help a child remember how to respond in certain situations.
In this part of therapy, books are typically used to teach a child about appropriate behavior. The books that are selected will be targeted to the correct age range and reading level.
The video part of speech therapy allows students to watch videos that teach expected behaviors and what to do in common social situations.
Since it’s difficult for children with autism to interact one on one with their peers, it is something that has to be taught. Peer interactions are dependent on the child’s age and where they are socially.
When children are young, they will learn:
How to Play Nicely
Just as children without autism often have to be told to play nicely and share their toys, autistic children have to receive the same lessons. Just in a more formal environment.
The primary goal here is to learn how to get along with other kids.
Recognizing Their Name
This is a little-known fact about autism. It can be difficult for a child to understand his or her own name and how to respond when it is called.
So, it’s a skill they are taught during therapy.
Paying Focused Attention
Earlier we mentioned that children with autism tend to pay more attention to environmental and background noises than they do with people speaking. Their speech therapist will help them tune out other sounds and become more focused when someone is talking to them.
Older children will be taught peer interaction with these methods:
Targeted Conversational Skills
It’s easier to pinpoint the specific conversational problems an older autistic child is having. This will allow better communication with their peers and adults too.
Perspective talking helps children learn how to put themselves in somebody else’s shoes. It makes them understand that there is more than one perspective and more than one side of the story.
This creates an environment for open-minded communication.
It’s a big misconception that an autistic child is the only one who should receive training from a speech therapist. Yes, it’s true that the child should have plenty of time for therapy, but it is also important for the parents and other adults in the child’s life to help the child implement the new things they learned.
When the speech therapist is able to train the adults who care for a child, they will make quicker progress. This is because they are getting individualized support and practice from multiple sources.
This will also allow the child to practice their new skills in a more natural comfortable environment for them like their home. The setting of a therapy room or classroom can sometimes feel a little formal causing anxiety.
Autism speech therapy varies based on the patient’s individual needs. Some people may have more advanced communication problems than others.
Whether you are looking for a method of speech therapy for an adult or child, our specialized online programs can help you. Just contact us today by clicking the button below and we’ll help you get started.