Autism and Speech Therapy

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Autism and Speech Therapy

Autism and Speech Therapy

speech-therapy-autismImproving Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder are seen in very small children, and often communication is one of the most common challenges with ASD.

Children with autism may have trouble understanding gestures and directions, including pointing and waving. Autism can make it difficult for them to recognize and use words, as well as fall behind in learning to read and write.

They may talk very little, be hard to understand, or possibly repeat words and phrases over and over again. When they want something, children with autism may exhibit aggressive or challenging behavior instead of being able to ask for it or express themselves.

You’ll notice how many times the word “may” is used in the paragraphs above; that’s because autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder. Depending on the individual, it ranges from mild to severe, and some people may not be diagnosed until they are adolescents or adults. For most, a reliable diagnosis is possible between the ages of 18 months and 2 years.

Research shows that early diagnosis of and interventions for autism are more likely to have major long-term positive effects on symptoms and later skills.

Speech Therapy and Autism

Speech therapy often plays a significant role in helping children with autism improve their ability to communicate. Exactly what methods a speech therapist may take are geared to the individual child and their specific challenges. Possible approaches include:

  • Non-verbal Communication – expressing themselves with gestures and body language come naturally to most kids but may be like a foreign language to children with ASD. They may have trouble both using gestures and understanding the physical signals of others.
  • Vocal Skills and Grammar – children with autism often have a flat way of speaking, which can make them seem unemotional. They have a tough time with grammar and proper use of tense in talking about the past, present, or future.
  • Conversations – the majority of children with autism learn to talk, but the normal back-and-forth of conversations may be a problem for them. They may miss basic cues, like understanding when, how, and to whom something should be said. Idioms like “hit the hay” and “it’s a piece of cake” can be quite confusing for them.
  • Learning – Speech therapists work with children in addressing a variety of learning difficulties, including issues like dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, language disorders and social communication problems.

As you can see, a Speech-language Pathologist, commonly known as a speech therapist, can play a large role in helping children with autism become more active and engaged. Improved speech skills also help with family life, school, and other social situations.

In cooperation with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), speech therapists aid in promoting positive behaviors which help children with autism achieve their highest personal potential.

Speech Therapy and ABA Therapy

Speech Therapy is often used in combination with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is a science-based technique for behavioral engineering that starts with understanding the basis of behaviors and then rewarding positive behaviors and discouraging negative ones. ABA is used to help children with autism improve their social, communication, and play skills.

Autism is a complex disorder involving difficulty in social interaction, impairment of communication skills, and often the presence of repetitive patterns of behavior.

ABA is used to help children with autism improve their social, communication, and play skills. Positive reinforcement and individualized treatment plans can result in positive and meaningful behavioral change for children with ASD.

ABA Therapy, like Speech Therapy, is most effective when children begin treatment programs early, between the ages of 0 and 3. Parents choose early intervention therapies because they have been shown to yield benefits both immediate and life-long in areas such as behavior, academic achievement, delinquency and crime, and eventual career attainment.

To learn more about the benefit of Speech Therapy and ABA Therapy for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, call TEIS Early Intervention at 412-271-8347 or visit our Contact Us page to get help today.

You can also learn more about ABA Therapy in Pittsburgh at the new website for ABA Abilities.