Did you know that based on the most recent reports, an estimated 1 to 1.2 million children have been diagnosed with autism in the United States alone? In an attempt to promote awareness of this increasingly common disorder, organizations across the globe recognize April as Autism Awareness Month. To help do our part, we’re dedicating our blogs this month to issues in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Today, we’ll talk about how individuals on the autistic spectrum can benefit from speech-language therapy.
Difficulty with communication is one of the most common symptoms of autism. However, the way in which this impacts each person can vary widely depending on their particular strengths and challenges and the severity of their disorder. Here are just a few of the ways a speech-language pathologist can help a person with ASD:
- Increasing Spoken Language: Some children with ASD have limited ability to understand or express language. A speech-language pathologist can help a child improve their language skills to make it easier for them to express wants and needs and interact with those around them. This could include helping the child learn words, learn to ask and answer questions, or make requests.
- Using Language Socially: Learning the unwritten social rules of language is one of the most difficult issues for many people on the autistic spectrum. A speech therapist can help a person improve their understanding of how to take turns in a conversation, vary the topics they talk about, and recognize how others are feeling.
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC): Some people on the autistic spectrum aren’t able to use speech to communicate at all. In these cases, a speech-language pathologist may recommend AAC. This can be as simple as pictures which a to point to or hand to other people to express wants and needs, or a high-tech computerized device which generates speech. A speech-language pathologist will perform a thorough evaluation to decide which type of AAC is best for an individual, and the work with them to help them use the device to improve their day-to-day communication.
Want to learn more? Check in with us next week when we’ll talk about some non-linguistic ways that a speech-language pathologist can help a person on the autistic spectrum!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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