Speech therapist does much more than simply teaching a child to correctly pronounce words. In fact, a speech therapist working with an autistic child may work on a wide range of skills including:
- Speech articulation: by oromotor exercises of lip and facial muscles, the way a child moves mouth while saying certain words and sounds.
- Communication: This includes teaching gestural communication, or training with PECS (picture exchange cards), electronic talking devices, and other non-verbal communication tools.
- Comprehension: The speech therapist engages the child in a functional language activities that involve cognition and social interaction.
- Speech pragmatics: Use of speech to build social relationships.
- Conversation skills: Self Talk, parallel talk, sentence elongation, situational talk
- Conceptual skills: Big and small concept, left & right concept, color concept, body parts concepts, yes and no concept
Facts about speech therapy
- Many parents make the mistake of considering speech therapy as a miracle cure, the solution to get their children up to speed in terms of their expressive, linguistic skills. It is not a cure, it is just training them to be better and help them to cope up with the surroundings.
- Just sending the child to a speech therapist for a few hours is not enough for training. The activities need to be practiced at home.
- Results are fast and evident within 3-4 sittings. Results need time and patience.
- Parents need to replicate the plan explained by the therapist at home.
- Therapy must be a part of routine activity in such a way that the child is not even aware that he or she is undergoing a “therapy session”.
Tips for the parents and caregivers
- Use flashcards and pictures to teach naming.
- Sing songs to teach the rhythm and flow of sentences.
- Avoid long sentences and verbal instruction.
- Use positive reinforcement to reward your child every time he or she successfully asks for something or identifies a object.
- Build conversational routines to help develop language.
- Has your child made eye contact with you when you say a word.
- Read aloud to your child from picture books that feature familiar objects and activities, like animals or going to school.