Children with autism have speech delays in various ranges. Some may not speak at all, while the majority have speech that is very difficult to understand. These speech issues can make it incredibly hard for them to get along and communicate effectively, resulting in many difficulties throughout their daily lives. As a parent in Denver Metro, Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster, Boulder/Longmont, Brighton Areas of Colorado, etc, it is common to worry when your child’s speech is uncharacteristic.

Worry not! There are five fundamental speech principles that Essence of Communication a Northglenn Speech Therapists use to help children become better communicators:

1. Early Intervention Is Crucial

One principle that every speech therapist will tell you is that early intervention is significant for children who have autism or other speech disorders. Even if a child is not showing signs of speech problems at birth or shortly after birth, speech therapists will work to improve speech as soon as there is noticeable trouble with speech development.

The reason is that speech disorders or speech delays can contribute to social or emotional problems. If a person cannot communicate well, they feel isolated from their peers and family members. This lack of communication also makes it hard for them to make friends and feel a part of a wider community.

Early therapy will continue throughout a child’s life, even after speech issues have been addressed and resolved to some degree. This is because speech problems can come up again as the child gets older or starts using different speech techniques that are new to them.

2. Practice Expressing Needs and Wants

To communicate with others, kids with autism need to be taught verbal and non-verbal methods. This is important not only for their relationships with family members but also for their interactions with friends.

3. Articulate Words and Sentences well

The child learns from repetition and practice. The speech therapist attempts to improve speech by repeating specific speech patterns with the patient until they learn the proper way to do it. These patterns can include sounds or words that are complex or precise speech movements that need improvement.

For example, suppose a person has trouble pronouncing specific consonants. In that case, their speech therapist will slowly get them to practice pronouncing those consonants and will help them understand how they should be pronounced. This process of speech learning goes on for an extended period because speech is a complex action that needs to be learned properly.

4. Speech Therapy Involves Collaboration with Parents and Teachers

Like other types of therapy, speech therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder strongly involves parents and teachers to act as active participants in speech learning. The speech therapist will often meet with these two groups separately to work together to set goals for the child’s speech growth, tell each other what techniques are being used, and determine whether or not an alternate approach should be taken. Most importantly, communication between all three parties is necessary to ensure that speech therapy produces maximum results for the child.

5. Learn to Communicate in A Way that Other People Understand

This therapy involves the following techniques and approaches to teach the children how to communicate:

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
DTT involves breaking down speech into small parts so a child can master a specific skill before moving on to the next one. An example would be teaching a child to learn how to form the letter “m” by teaching them first how to move their lips, then teaching them how to say the sound “m,” then finally combining both actions together.

Verbal Behavior Approach (VBA)
VBA is a specific type of speech therapy that targets speech issues explicitly related to autism spectrum disorder. For example, many autistic children have trouble with speech that involves making requests for items or saying words in conversations. The speech therapist using the VBA approach will help the patient learn how to use speech to communicate these kinds of things properly.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
ABA is another speech therapy technique that uses repetition and practice but helps treat more severe speech problems than DTT or VBA speech therapy. For example, many children on the autism spectrum have speech issues that are so severe that their speech cannot be understood by people around them. A speech therapist practicing ABA will use predetermined words or sounds and teach the patient to say those specific words to communicate with their parents and peers properly.

Articulation Therapy
The speech therapist helps the child practice speech patterns that affect how they sound when they talk. An example will be if a person has trouble pronouncing certain consonants. An articulation speech therapist would work with them until they can correctly pronounce these consonants.

Social Skills Training
This is another tool speech therapists can use to help patients learn how to make friends and develop speech that makes them capable of interacting with other people. This speech therapy method involves instruction and practice in speech patterns that help the patient communicate specific social norms.

If you are a parent and have noticed abnormalities in your child’s speech, go ahead and contact Essence of Communication a Northglenn Speech Therapist today!

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