Speech therapy aims to help with autism or autism spectrum disorder (ADD) in children. It is essential that we know they can live a normal and happy life, too. Almost everyone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is advised to take therapy. The reason for this is that many children with ASD have compromised or limited speech and have a hard time forming words and sentences. At the same time, they also confront major non-verbal communication problems such as maintaining eye contact and playing with other people. For these reasons, therapy has many benefits for children with autism.
Speech Therapy For Children With Autism
“Traditionally, intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has focused upon reducing interfering behavior and teaching language, academic and self-help skills.” –Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT
Speech Therapy Helps Children With Autism:
Develop The Ability To Express Needs
Children with speech problems have a hard time expressing both their wants and needs. Sometimes, they do not learn spoken language bit by bit; instead, they do it in “chunks.” For example, they repeat these long chunks of sentences from their favorite TV shows and stories without fully understanding what they mean. Experts call this disorder echolalia. This can be addressed with speech therapy.
With the help of speech therapy, they learn how to communicate verbally and non-verbally with other people and exchange ideas with their peers properly. It is crucial in building relationships not only in the comforts of their home but also outside of it. Children need to mingle with other kids, too. They need to communicate, play, and interact with other people in order to grow. In speech therapy, they are able to express their emotions in a healthy and proper way.
Speech therapy aims to aid children with ASD as they have a difficult time applying correct grammar even if it’s taught both in school and at home. The most common grammar mistake they do is referring to themselves in the third person. For example, instead of saying, “I want to eat cereals,” they’ll say, “John wants cereals.” In speech therapy, therapists target this skill and guide them into correcting these grammar mistakes.
In speech therapy, children with autism are able to identify which words and phrases to use in order for others to understand what they want to communicate.
Speech Therapy Helps Children Talk Confidently
Understands What Others Say To Them
Speech therapy also addresses one of the difficulties of having ASD which is the inability to comprehend both verbal and nonverbal communication that other people try to tell you. Speech therapy teaches them to recognize cues such as facial expressions and body language and translate these to understandable messages. Speech therapy also gives them the capability to initiate individual and group communication without having to wait for others to do so.
“It is painful and difficult to identify, because so many neurotypical partners see these as problems existing within in themselves, rather than as their reactions to confusion, to feeling systematically ignored, or to feeling not heard for many years.” –Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC
Assists Their Articulation Skills
Aside from improving their comprehension, speech therapy also targets the improvement of the children’s articulation skills. Articulation refers to the physical movement of the lips, palate, tongue, and jaw. All of these parts should be able to coordinate correctly to produce speech sounds learned in speech therapy.
In speech therapy. children become confident as they learn the proper words and gestures to use when communicating with other people.
Speech Therapy Guides Children To Produce Sound Patterns
Addresses Speech Fluency
Speech therapy is beneficial to children with ASD experiencing various communication disorders like interjections, prolongations, and repetitions. Displaying these behaviors tends to lower their self-confidence. With the help of speech therapy for autism, the patients learn strategies on how to increase their speech fluency and control their stutters.
Speech Therapy Leads Children With Autism To A Happy Life
“Often, kids, teens, and adults on the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to be “normal”, fighting sensory overload and overwhelm, fending off personal quirks, and trying so hard to “fit in”, socially and otherwise.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT said. Just like other medical diagnoses, the earlier you detect and treat speech problems, the higher the chances of addressing them thoroughly. Usually, children utter their first words around their 18th month and form basic phrases and sentences on their 24th month. It means that autism is detectable at the age of 3. Therefore, it is recommended to start speech therapy early for it to be more beneficial and useful for children with autism.