Our Approach to Speech Therapy in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

What are the benefits of speech therapy for ASD?

Speech therapy can improve overall communication. This makes it possible for people with autism to improve their ability to form relationships and function in day-to-day life.

Specific goals of speech therapy include helping the individual with autism:

  • Articulate words well
  • Communicate both verbally and nonverbally
  • Comprehend verbal and nonverbal communication, understanding others' intentions in a range of settings
  • Initiate communication without prompting from others
  • Know the appropriate time and place to communicate something; for example, when to say "good morning"
  • Develop conversational skills
  • Exchange ideas
  • Communicate in ways to develop relationships
  • Enjoy communicating, playing, and interacting with peers
  • Learn self-regulation

 

Communication Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

As Speech-language pathologists we specialize in treating language problems and speech disorders. With early screening and detection of people at risk, speech therapists often lead the way in helping with the diagnosis of autism and in making referrals to other specialists.

Once autism is diagnosed, our speech therapists assess the best ways to improve communication and enhance a person's quality of life. Throughout therapy, our speech-language pathologists work closely with the family, school, and other professionals. If someone with autism is nonverbal or has continued trouble with speech, the our speech therapist may introduce alternatives to speech.

Our Speech therapy techniques might include:

  • Electronic "talkers"
  • Signing or typing
  • Using picture boards with words, known as picture exchange communication systems that start out using pictures instead of words to help a child learn to communicate
  • Using sounds to which a person is over- or under-sensitive to expand and compress speech sounds
  • Improving articulation of speech by massaging or exercising lips or facial muscles
  • Having individuals sing songs composed to match the rhythm, stress, and flow of sentences

 

When is the best time to start speech therapy for autism

The earlier, the better. Autism spectrum disorder is usually evident before age 3, and language delays can be recognized as early as 18 months of age. In some cases, autism can be identified as early 10 to 12 months of age. It is very important to start speech therapy as early as possible, when it can have the greatest impact. Intensive, individualized treatment can help lessen the disabling isolation that may result from this social communication disability.

With early identification and intervention, two out of three preschoolers with autism improve communication skills and their grasp of spoken language. Research shows those who improve the most are often those who receive the most speech therapy.

Our Approach to Speech Therapy in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

What are the benefits of speech therapy for ASD?

Speech therapy can improve overall communication. This makes it possible for people with autism to improve their ability to form relationships and function in day-to-day life.

Specific goals of speech therapy include helping the individual with autism:

  • Articulate words well
  • Communicate both verbally and nonverbally
  • Comprehend verbal and nonverbal communication, understanding others' intentions in a range of settings
  • Initiate communication without prompting from others
  • Know the appropriate time and place to communicate something; for example, when to say "good morning"
  • Develop conversational skills
  • Exchange ideas
  • Communicate in ways to develop relationships
  • Enjoy communicating, playing, and interacting with peers
  • Learn self-regulation

 

Communication Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

As Speech-language pathologists we specialize in treating language problems and speech disorders. With early screening and detection of people at risk, speech therapists often lead the way in helping with the diagnosis of autism and in making referrals to other specialists.

Once autism is diagnosed, our speech therapists assess the best ways to improve communication and enhance a person's quality of life. Throughout therapy, our speech-language pathologists work closely with the family, school, and other professionals. If someone with autism is nonverbal or has continued trouble with speech, the our speech therapist may introduce alternatives to speech.

Our Speech therapy techniques might include:

  • Electronic "talkers"
  • Signing or typing
  • Using picture boards with words, known as picture exchange communication systems that start out using pictures instead of words to help a child learn to communicate
  • Using sounds to which a person is over- or under-sensitive to expand and compress speech sounds
  • Improving articulation of speech by massaging or exercising lips or facial muscles
  • Having individuals sing songs composed to match the rhythm, stress, and flow of sentences

 

When is the best time to start speech therapy for autism

The earlier, the better. Autism spectrum disorder is usually evident before age 3, and language delays can be recognized as early as 18 months of age. In some cases, autism can be identified as early 10 to 12 months of age. It is very important to start speech therapy as early as possible, when it can have the greatest impact. Intensive, individualized treatment can help lessen the disabling isolation that may result from this social communication disability.

With early identification and intervention, two out of three preschoolers with autism improve communication skills and their grasp of spoken language. Research shows those who improve the most are often those who receive the most speech therapy.

What is the Desired Outcome of Speech Therapy?

The main goal of speech therapy is to improve communication. Some of the goals of speech therapy might include:

  • Improving coordination of speech muscles through strengthening and coordination exercises, sound repetition and imitation.
  • Improving communication between the brain and the body through visual and auditory aids such as mirrors and tape recorders.
  • Improving fluency through breathing exercises.
  • Enhancing the learning of language through language stimulation and the use of language through positive reinforcement.
  • Improving communication by helping a child learn another way to communicate which might include gestures, signing or augmentative communication devices (note use of these alternate forms of communication will serve to enhance speech development, not impair it).

Each child will have a different outcome depending on his or her particular challenges and abilities. The length of time in speech-language therapy depends on many factors such as severity of the problem, the frequency and consistency of therapy and the consistency of help at home.

Next Steps...

If you suspect that your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder Please Come in for a Comprehensive Speech Evaluation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email