When it comes to treating autism, most parents are oblivious of the benefits of speech therapy. Apart from improving communication in autistic children, regular therapy can build confidence in these kids and help them connect with people socially. Autism throws a lot of communication challenges that are very hard to overcome in order to integrate into society. Having said that, autism is a wide spectrum in which different children are diagnosed with different problems to varying degrees. Talking less, moaning, grunting and failing to make eye contact are some of the issues. However, in recent finding, autism speech and language therapy has been considered to be the most effective means to intervene autistic children and address these problems in a number of ways.
A brief about autism spectrum disorder or ASD
Very few parents are aware of autism spectrum disorder in kids. Parents often overlook some initial signs of interactive difficulties in small kids. So here is a small know-how about autism-
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can be detected in children around the age of 3. It is mainly marked by impaired communication with a lack of cognitive skill but it also includes other peculiarities such as repetitive activities, inability to connect with the environment, unusual responses to certain things like touch and reluctance to accept changes in daily routine. However, there are some common speech and interaction problems that parents must take note of very early in their children. Some of them are:
- Babbling with words and uttering grunts or harsh sounds
- Using robotic-kind-of speech
- Repeating after a person
- Talking incoherently or using words in an unexpressive tone of voice
These challenges are faced by about one of three autistic children who have trouble making coherent speech sounds in order to interact with others. Apart from that, a person with autism has to deal with major communication challenges.
- Unable to make eye contact while talking to somebody
- Lacking the understanding the meaning of those words outside the context where they learned them before
- Unable to memorize things
- Lacking the knowledge about creating new sentences
- Unable to comprehend the meaning of words and symbols
To combat all these speech and non-verbal communication problems, speech therapy works effectively.
Benefits of speech therapy
Autism speech therapy works on a person’s overall communication improvement. It also improves their ability to produce understandable speech sounds and make social relationships. Here’s a look at few of its advantages.
- Helps articulate words properly: Since the evolution of autism speech therapy, there have been inventions and executions of lots of techniques. For example, electronic ‘talkers’ are often used for improving articulation. Speech Pathologists also recommend oro motor exercises of lips and facial muscles to help these patients to utter words appropriately.
- Initiate communication: A very technique of using picture boards with words and their supporting pictures is a great way of helping a child to learn how to start a communication. This sort of procedure is called ‘picture exchange communication system’. In fact this makes the entire therapy program very interesting for kids. As a result, they become capable of starting out a conversation without getting any prompts from others as well as understand another person’s intention while talking to him/her.
- Exchange ideas: One of the major communication difficulties for children is to express and exchange their ideas. In autism speech therapy, they learn to talk about their views and understand that of others in both verbal and non-verbal way. They are also taught to say something coherently keeping the appropriate place, setting and person in mind. For example, they learn when they have to say “Good morning” and when to bid “Goodbye”.
- Learn self-regulation: During the training, therapists give a lot of stress on a child’s ability regulate himself. They encourage children to sing songs to match the rhythm, stress and flow of sentences. Sometimes different sounds are used for a kid to whom he is under- or over-sensitive to so that these can compress and expand his speech patterns. This makes a great impact on his verbal exchanges.