Friday, August 19, 2011

Autism and Speech and Language Treatment

For a typical child, speech begins to develop with the first sound the child makes. Words like mama, dada and ball are normal first words you normally hear. Incrementally, a child will create language by using those sounds and speech skills. By school age, most children already have speech that is understandable by someone who has not been around them. Children with autism may take longer to develop speech to a level which is understandable if at all.
Parents and caregivers can go to their doctors to ask for an evaluation and a referral. From there, they are usually referred to a speech pathologist or therapist. Speech pathologists, also known as therapists, must hold masters degrees and work in a clinics, school settings, and private settings. Speech therapists have many interventions and tools to use from speech curriculum to play like therapy. Speech pathologists work with infants and young children in creating cognitive skills necessary for language development, sound production and receptive expressive language.
There are different forms of communication. For children who are less verbal, you would use such systems as picture exchange, sign language, communication boards, and electronic devices to name a few. Oral motor skills and feeding skills are also treatments provided by the pathologist to specialize the child's needs. Combining objects, photos, picture communication symbols, gestures, and aided AAC systems to traditional speech and language treatment approaches helps an individual with autism communicate.
As a parent or caregiver, it is important to be honest if you do not understand what your child is saying. Encourage them to try again. Letting your child know you understand when you do actually understand will encourage proper language use.
You must model good speech. If you child makes an error in their speech, repeat what they were attempting to say in the correct way. Your child will learn to speak correctly by hearing you talk and read correctly.
It is always good to read to your child. They will obtain speech sounds and the proper vocabulary steadily. If your child loves for you to read the same book every night before bed, then do it. The more they hear the words and sentences, the more likely they are to retain and use the language. Your child becomes more familiar with language.
There is not a child who is too young to begin receiving help with language. It is a very important tool that we use in every day life. If you have any doubt, or have a mother's gut feeling that something is wrong with your child, please take your child in to get evaluated.

Not knowing what treatments or therapies to use can be very frustrating. There are many therapies and no two children are alike. You can find our more at Autism-Free Information and Reports.

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