Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism is a developmental disability and is part of a group of neurological disorders. ASD may involve communication problems, impaired social interaction, and cognitive skills. Autism is detectable as early as age 3. Luckily in Los Angeles, speech therapy is not difficult to find. Read on to see how a speech language pathologist can help you, your child, and your family.
Traits Associated With Autism
- Repetitive actions
- Changes in daily routines result to extreme discomfort and resistance
- Responding unusually to things like touch
- Difficulty interacting with one’s environment
Both verbal and nonverbal communication may present major problems for people with autism, who may also have difficulty interacting socially. To address these issues, speech therapy plays a major role in autism treatments. There are many children who are growing and developing with these difficulties in Los Angeles. Speech therapy, however, can provide the opportunity for positive life outcomes for the most important person in your life, your child. Let’s discuss some of the specific communication barriers that children with autism can face.
Common Speech And Communication Problems
Autism affects language development, speech, and social communication in various ways.
Speech behaviors associated with ASD include:
- Not talking
- Shrieking, crying, grunting, or making throaty, harsh sounds
- Talking in a sing-song manner or humming
- Robotic speech or using foreign-sounding made-up words
- Echolalia (parroting or repeating what other persons say)
- Saying the right phrases and sentences in an expressionless tone
Communication skills are impaired in one out of three people with autism with the inability to produce language orally. Even if the person is actually talking, the speech is still difficult to understand.
The following are communication behaviors associated with ASD:
- Impaired conversational skills, lacking eye contact and hand gestures
- Unable to understand words used differently to how they learned it
- Memorizing things heard without knowing its meaning
- Relying on echolalia as the main form of communication
- Lack understanding of the meaning of words or symbols
- Inadequate creative language
Learning simply to speak is not sufficient for a child with autism. The child needs to learn how to use language to communicate effectively and how to have a conversation. Learning both verbal and nonverbal cues like body language and tone of voice is also important.
Role Of Los Angeles Speech Therapy
An important part of the autism treatment team, speech therapists specialize in treating language problems and speech disorders.
Speech-language pathologists are an important part of the autism treatment team. They are therapists specializing in managing language problems and speech disorders. They can help in the diagnosis of autism. They also assist in making referrals to other specialists.
Once autism is diagnosed, speech therapists can evaluate the best methods to use. These treatment methods help in improving not only the individual’s communication skills but also their quality of life. The speech-language pathologist works hand in hand with family, school, and other professionals all throughout therapy. Speech alternatives are introduced by the speech therapists if the client does not talk at all or has major problems with speech.
Speech Therapy Techniques:
- Electronic “talkers”
- Signing or typing
- Picture exchange communication systems
- Expanding and compressing speech sounds
- Improving articulation of speech
- Singing songs that match the flow of sentences
Some speech therapy techniques are supported by more studies than others. For the best options, discussing with the child’s pediatrician and therapist is recommended.
Benefits Of Speech Therapy
Enhanced overall communication is the biggest goal and benefit of speech therapy, enabling people with autism to have improved abilities to enhance relationships and better function in their everyday lives.
Specific goals of speech therapy include helping the person with autism:
- Speak words more clearly
- Engage in verbal and nonverbal communication
- Understand verbal and nonverbal communication and other people’s intentions in a range of settings
- Start communicating without a need for prompting
- Knowing when to communicate time-sensitive phrases like “good morning” and “good night”
- Develop conversational skills
- Exchange ideas
- Speak and communicate in ways that develop relationships
- Enjoy speaking, playing, and interacting with peers and others
- Learn self-regulation
Best Time To Start Speech Therapy
Language delays can show as early as 18 months of age. ASD can be detected before age 3, and in some cases, as early as 10-12 months of age. Speech therapy should begin early because this is the time when it can have the greatest impact. Intensive and individualized treatment can decrease social communication disabilities that can lead to disabling isolation.
Two out of three preschoolers with autism can improve their communication skills and grasp of spoken language when there is early identification and intervention. Studies show that those who receive the most speech therapy are the ones who improve the most.
Find a speech-language pathologist by logging on to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website at www.asha.org, or discuss with your pediatrician for suggestions and other resources. If you are looking for Los Angeles Speech Therapy, then you can contact Speech Pathologist, Melissa Peters M.S. She aims to help her clients reach their fullest communicative potential utilizing evidence-based treatment methods.