As a parent, you will not at any time want to believe that your child is suffering from certain mental issues. When it comes to autism, if parents recognize the right symptoms at the early stages, it can make a huge difference for the child with autism. When your child is younger, the impact of the autism treatment will be much higher.
No matter what the age of your child is; the treatment will show positive impact on Autism. The treatment can reduce the effects of disorder and will help your autistic child in growing and thriving.
Autistic children have trouble in understanding as well as communicating with others. This may also delay their acquisition with language and may even lead to frustration. Children with autism find that the social situations are difficult, so they think that it is better to avoid them, they may find it difficult to foster their communication skills.
Autistic children have communication problems that are more complex than the normal difficulties in speech as well as language. The social behavior can be extremely hard to understand and one cannot understand their state of mind completely. Their reluctance to interaction with people may be understood by failure to make any eye contact, use of hand gestures or by body language.
Delay in coping with the spoken language may be an indication that something is absolutely wrong. At such times, it is better to visit the speech and language therapist (SALT). The assessment of a child should be done based on his or her difficulty in communicating and maintaining a social balance as well. This is why; such speech therapists are the right people to rely on when such things are observed as they will assess and intervene in the right manner.
Some children who are suffering from autism have limited or no speech and their ability to understand speech may vary as well. At such times, the therapist may focus on helping the child in communicating using signs, pictures and symbols. They may also spend time for helping the kid in listening or being attentive, undertake social skills, express and use language in the right manner.
Those suffering from autism may have major issues with speech as well as nonverbal communication. It may be difficult for them to interact with people instantly. This is why; speech therapy is designed to form a central part of the treatment for an autistic child. It can address a variety of problems for all the autism sufferers.
What are the Most Common Speech and Communication Issues Faced by Autistic Children?
Autism can have an effect on language development, speech as well as social communication in numerous ways.
Speech Complications Faced by Children with Autism
An Individual with Autism may:
- Not speak at all
- Utter harsh sounds, grunt, cry or shriek
- Hum or chat in a musical mode
- Babble with word-like hum
- Use foreign-sounding "words" or robotic-like speech
- Repeat or parrot speaks the words that are spoken by other people.
- Use the right sentences but in an unexpressive voice tone.
Almost one in every three people suffering from autism may have issues in communicating by producing speech sounds. Even if the person speaks, it may be too difficult to understand what they are trying to say.
Communication Obstacles Faced by Children with Autism
An autistic child may show one or more of these challenges with communication.
- Difficulty with skills in conversation, including gestures and eye contact.
- Difficulty in understanding the right meaning of the words when spoken out of the context that they know.
- Memorizing things without knowing their exact meaning
- Parrot speaking or echolalia as a way of communication with others
- Slight understanding of the words or symbols
- Lack of creative speech.
As all these challenges are associated with autistic kids, a child must do something more than just learning to speak. The child will also have to learn using signs to communicate with others. This also involves knowing to start or continue the conversational pattern. Additionally, there is involvement of verbal as well as nonverbal signals from others like body language, voice tones and facial gestures.
Significance of Speech Therapy in Treating Autistic Child
Speech-language professionals are a kind of therapists and they have specialization in treating the problems with language as well as speech disorders. They form a vital part of the treatment team that offers help to autistic kids. They help in early screening and detection of all the children who are at risk and lead the way to help them in diagnosing autism. At times, they also make referrals of a patient to a specialist who can be of great help.
Once the diagnosis of autism is done, speech therapists evaluate the right ways to improve the communication skills in the person and enhance his or her quality of life. The speech language pathologist will work in close relation with the school, family as well as others during the entire therapy session. If a child suffering from autism has immense issues with speech and is nonverbal, he or she may introduce the sufferer to other options of speech therapy.
Speech Therapy Systems for Autism can Contain:
- Electronic "talkers"
- Typing or signing
- Use word boards with pictures and this is recognized as picture exchange communication systems that begin with the use of pictures that may help with communication for an autistic child.
- Use of sounds to which the autistic person is sensitive can be used to compress or expand the speech sounds.
- Improving verbal communication by doing lip exercises or massaging can relax the facial muscles.
- Asking the individual to sync with the rhythm and flow of the sentences that are comprised in a song.
Some of these techniques are well researched as compared to others. Before using any of them, be sure to discuss well with the child's pediatrician and speech-language pathologist.
What are the Advantages of Speech Therapy for Children with Autism?
There are many advantages of speech therapy for children with autism. Speech therapy can help in improving the general communication. This makes it promising for the autistic children to advance their ability to maintain relationships and tackle the activities in everyday life.
Precise goals of speech therapy include helping a child suffering from autism:
- Express or speak the words well.
- Correspond both verbally and nonverbally
- Understand the verbal and nonverbal communication as well as the intention of others
- Know the right time and place to say something
- Develop the skills of conversation
- Begin a conversation without any prompting
- Exchange ideas
- Communicate to build relationships
- Enjoy interacting and playing with others
- Acquire self-regulation.
When is the Perfect Time to Begin Speech Therapy for Children with Autism?
The treatment for autism in children can be really effective when the symptoms are detected at an earlier stage. Autism can be diagnosed at the age of 3 or before that. However, the delays in learning the language can be understood at the age of 18 months. It is important to begin with the speech therapy as soon as possible as it can have the greatest impact on the sufferer. Individualized treatment will help in disabling isolation from social surroundings that may be leading to the disability.
With early diagnosis and intervention, most autistic preschoolers are able to improve the skills of communication and grasp the language used for speaking. Research has shown that children who show massive development are the ones that have undergone maximum speech therapy.
Some autistic children have a great command on vocabularies and can speak on certain topics in depth. Some autistic children may have issues with pronunciation. Many may have trouble in making an effective use of language and problems in understanding the meaning of sentences. Some may also have difficulty in intonation, rhythm and saying things with regard to the content or the information that is a part of the communication. For, children with autism who have difficulty in speech, the therapist can be of great help.
- Fluency Disorders: Some autistic kids may repeat the same sounds or may have issues in speaking complete sentences or words. Stuttering or stammering may be a common thing observed in fluency disorder.
- Articulation Disorders: Some autistic kids may also have problems in understanding or pronouncing the sounds as well as words in the right manner. Like, 'say' may sound like 'thay' or 'run' may sound like 'won'. There may be lisps observed while speaking.
- Language Disorders: Most autistic children may have difficulty in understanding certain things that are spoken to them as they do not understand the complete meaning of the words. Children on the spectrum of autism may have difficulty in framing sentences. At such times, they may use certain idiosyncratic language of their own.
- Resonance or Voice Disorders: Some autistic kids speak in such a way that people cannot understand them completely. It may seem like they are talking through the nose. Some people may also have a high-pitched tone or have a robot-like speech.
Speech and Language Therapy at School for Autistic Children
Autistic children who need special education help may have provision for speech as well as language in their course. The provision has to be enforceable and one must understand to use them in the right manner.
Some language and speech therapy that is provided in schools as well as other places have taken the form of private sessions that is done with the therapist. Often, the speech and language therapist will design a program that has to be delivered by the teachers and the assistants at school. There may be also training given to the staff at school to aid in speech development of a kid to a whole new level.
Most autistic children also get the access to language and speech therapy as the U.S Government has laid emphasis on beginning with early detection and intervention programs. This may involve personal session or group work as well.