Autism is a developmental disorder that evolves before the child completes 3 years of age. It is a group of neurological disorders that highlight difficulties in areas such as communication, cognitive skills, impaired social interaction, etc. Speech therapy addresses the communication difficulties for children with autism.
Also known as an autism spectrum disorder, autism is linked with a wide range of symptoms that include:
- Repetitive activities
- Resistance to sudden changes
- Strange responses to touch, bright light and high-pitched sound
The individuals also confront major problems with speech and nonverbal communication making interacting socially a difficult task. For these reasons, speech therapy is the most important part of treatment for children with autism.
The Best Time For A Speech Therapy
Language delays in a child can be recognized as he/she reaches 18 months of age. Consulting the doctors and indulging in speech therapy, at an early stage, can improve the disability in the child at a quick pace.
Early identification and intervention with speech therapy, improve communication skills and their ability to grasp and understand spoken language. Research confirms that children who received speech therapy at an early stage showed improvement in their speech.
Role Of Speech Therapy In The Treatment Of Autism
Speech therapists are professional specializes in treating problems related to language and speech disorders. They head the team of dedicated subordinates, who help with the diagnosis of and with speech therapy for children with autism.
Once autism is diagnosed, the speech therapists chalk out the best way to improve communication deficiency in individuals. They work with various techniques (some of which are mentioned below) to help the individuals with:
Articulation is the physical movement of the tongue, lips, palate and jaw, that work in collaboration to produce speech sounds. The speech therapists work the child to produce specific speech sounds or a sound pattern to increase his overall speech intelligibility.
Expressive Language Skills
Speech involves the physical ability to talk. Gestural symbols like shrugging of the shoulders indicate ‘I don’t know’ or a hand wave is a ‘bye bye’. Thus, an expressive language also shows what the child wants to express. Speech-therapy for autism helps a child to learn new words and how to join them to form a sentence. This helps the child to communicate with expressive skill with others.
Stuttering, also a communication disorder, affects speech fluency in a child with autism. Stuttering involves behaviours such as repetitions, interjections, prolongations, etc. Speech therapy for autism can teach strategies to control the stutters and increase speech fluency in the child with autism.
The Benefits Of Speech Therapy For Autism
Speech therapy for autism improves overall communication and improves their ability to form a good rapport with people in their lives.
After Speech therapy the individuals with autism are able to:
- Communicate both verbally and nonverbally
- Understand words and language
- Able to articulate words well
- Take part in the conversation without being prompted
- Know when to use the words like, ‘good morning’, ‘thank you’, ‘please’, etc. “
- Develop conversational skills
- Communicate in school to make friends
- Enjoy communicating and interacting
- Convey their needs and ideas
- Learn self-regulation
Speech-language therapists provide intensive individualized treatment to lessen the isolation of the kids with autism due to social communication disability.
It sure got my attention when you said that one of the benefits of having speech therapy for autistic children is that it teaches them to have proper articulation skills which increase their speech intelligibility by practicing specific sounds and sound patterns. My 6-year-old son was diagnosed with mild autism, which is why he is having a hard time speaking. We want him to have the proper social skills once he attends school this coming year, which is why we are looking at all means to help him be able to speak. We’ll definitely visit our doctor this weekend and ask for speech therapy recommendations.
Dear Florence Welch,
Thank you for the comment & appreciation. How’s your son doing now? Did your doctor recommend and speech therapies?
My son has been having a hard time speaking, and I’m thinking of taking him to a speech therapist to help with this. Your article had great points about the benefits of this, and I liked how you said this therapy can teach strategies to control stutters and increase speech fluency. Thanks; I’ll keep this in mind when considering speech therapy for my son.
Thank you so much for the appreciation, Jocelyn. We are happy to have been of assistance. Have you started Speech Therapy for your child yet? Feel free to access the other resources on the Autism Connect Website
Please also feel free to use the Autism Connect Directory to find a therapist closest to you.
I didn’t know that language delays in a child can be recognized by eighteen months. To me, it would be important to have them tested to see how you can help as soon as you notice delays. I’ll have to look into state program consulting that can help those with special needs children.
My child has autism. I think she’ll benefit from speech therapy from a good counselor so that she can hone her articulation skills. As you’ve mentioned, this will improve her overall speech intelligibility, so I hope that I can find a good one.
I found it interesting that when you identify and intervene with speech therapy early enough there can be really good benefits such as improving their communication skills. My nephew has struggled with speaking ever since he started school. I might recommend my brother look into autism therapy as a way to help him gain better social and communication skills.
It’s helpful to know that by the time they’re 18 months that you can start recognizing language issues, and treating them quickly can improve the situation. My wife and I have been wondering whether our son might have some issues that should be looked at. We’ll probably wait until he’s a little older and see whether there’s anything we could do to help him out.