Children with Autism often have speech issues along with other Autism-related issues. Speech and language therapy helps Autistic individuals to overcome their speech-related and communication difficulties. Research shows that some children who receive speech therapies at an early stage can overcome the signs and symptoms of Autism while growing as an adult. They will be able to manage the symptoms well and can lead a near-normal life. If an Autistic child has speech issues and doesn’t receive speech therapy, there is a high chance that the child develops behavioral issues, too. If the child is unable to express the bottled-up emotions through the speech like us, that results in frustration, leading to behavior issues.
Autism is a neurological condition that affects an individual’s abilities related to communication, cognition, sensory perception, expression, and behavior. All these areas are affected variedly in each individual with Autism. Though some symptoms overlap, not every Autistic individual has the same symptoms as the other. Each of their symptoms falls in the spectrum of Autism disorder, where some form of speech and language issue is commonly found.
Role of a Speech Therapist
Communication is a primary concern for any individual because it is the key element to function in daily life and to exchange information with the people around. A Speech therapist works on skills such as speaking, listening, reading, and language.
A Speech therapist or a Speech and Language Pathologist needs to work with an Autistic child towards many other skills than just teaching the pronunciation of words. Teaching different speech skills includes
Speech Language Pathologists can teach the person how to produce the error sounds correctly by teaching the way of moving the parts of the mouth to produce certain sounds and words. The therapist teaches different promotor exercises relating to facial muscles, lips, and tongue that help produce these sounds. They follow a systematic approach to teaching the sounds in syllables, words, sentences, and connected speech.
Communication is the process of sharing or passing information, knowledge, messages, feelings, etc. The speech therapist will be teaching verbal communication and non-verbal communication like gestures PECs (Picture Exchange Cards) and also make use of electronic talking devices.
Comprehension is the ability to understand and process spoken or written language. Good comprehension skills are essential for understanding what others are trying to communicate, and it is a fundamental component of effective communication. Speech therapist’s training involves following instructions, comprehending stories, and making inferences.
Expression is the act of conveying one’s thoughts, ideas, emotions, or messages to others through spoken or written language. Speech therapists will train in effective expression involving vocabulary selection, grammar, and sentences. Expression is vital for sharing information, and it is a fundamental aspect of communication.
Usage of Speech Pragmatics
Speech pragmatics is a vital aspect that helps individuals to engage effectively in conversations. This involves teaching the social rules and conventions of communication, including turn-taking, maintaining topics, using appropriate eye contact, and recognizing nonverbal cues like smiling, hand-shaking, and waving.
Effective conversation involves various aspects of language and communication. Speech therapists set specific conversation-related goals that are tailored to the individual’s needs and may address areas such as turn-taking, topic maintenance, listening skills, and social communication. A variety of techniques and strategies are used to help individuals develop these skills.
All the necessary concepts are introduced, such as big and small, long and short, right and left, and the color concept, body parts concept, yes or no concept, etc., are all taught.
During a speech therapy session, these issues are addressed by the speech therapist. Even after the sessions, some home-based activities can be practiced to enhance the progress of the child.
Home-based Speech therapy activities
Along with the sessions during speech therapy, you can also try to help your child improve their communication by implementing some tips at home. Being a parent or caregiver, you can add 5 to 10 minutes of such activities and exercises to the child’s daily activities. In order to increase the interest in kids, these sessions should be short and engaging. You can include some of the below activities.
Children with Autism are more likely to pay attention when they are having fun. Engage in play activities that interest the child, such as playing with toys, board games, or engaging in imaginative play. Also, using colorful and interactive materials can capture a child’s attention, and using interesting sounds or music can also help focus their attention.
Gaining a child’s attention for imitation is a fundamental aspect of speech therapy and early childhood development. Imitation is a valuable skill that helps children learn language, social cues, and various behaviors. Here are some strategies to effectively gain a child’s attention for imitation.
- Simplify and slow down.
- Teach essential words
- Give choices
- Positive reinforcement
- Engage in playful interactions
- Follow the child’s lead
- Use your favorite activity/toy
- Use high-pitched or animated tones
- Turn imitation into a fun social game
- Sorting games
- Read stories for them
- Sensory activities
- Communication boards
- Show facial expressions
Though these techniques help in a home environment, Autistic children need a structured therapy plan made by specialists in these areas. Speech therapy for kids with Autism has to be done under the guidance of a trained and experienced speech and language pathologist in a structured environment. This helps the implementation of a therapy plan inappropriate to the needs of the child. It is because every child with Autism defines it in their own way.
How does our Speech Therapy differ from others?
Wellness Hub follows a systematic procedure of case detailing, assessing the problem, assigning goals, and a flawless therapy plan. The sessions are allotted in accordance with your preferred timings, and a review session is conducted every three months.
Along with the points discussed during the session, you can make full use of the material provided on our app. You are provided a dashboard where the therapist assigns goals and specifies the number of sessions the child needs for a week. Even after the session, the therapist can assign you some activities guiding you to make the child work. Speech Basics has hundreds of interesting things that help you plan your activities well. It offers 10,000+ activities, lessons, and exercises that reinforce learning.
Our Specializations include
- Counseling parents about developmental disorders
- Planning therapy goals and therapy programs involving parents
- Providing a comfortable home training program to parents
- Giving tips to parents to work with the child at home
- Training and advising parents on the preparation of therapy material
- Assessing the speech sound errors while speaking
- Conducting informal oro-facial examination
- Screening on oral motor functioning
- Assessing the language comprehension and production
- Identifying the severity of the problem and planning therapy accordingly
- Counseling the client to cope with stress
- Conducting individual and group sessions
Research says that with practice, the right material, and support from a specialist, speech issues can be improved even through online sessions. Speech therapy exercises for children with Autism can continue online with the help of parents and therapists on either side. The parents can follow the instructions under the guidance of a speech therapist and supervise the online speech therapy sessions. Wellness Hub offers you quality material, an interactive Speech basics app, and irreplaceable support from your speech therapist. Your SPOC can guide you through after the initial consultation, which makes the process seamless. We have a good number of 30+ therapists who are licensed, experienced, and trained in online coaching and therapies. So, don’t hesitate to clear your doubts at the earliest.