Most children can learn to speak easily, starting from certain sounds to producing meaningful words. But for autistic children, it is not that easy. Some individuals with ASD develop speech quite late while others love to talk but are unable to hold any meaningful conversation. For them, it is difficult to access the functional use of language as well as face difficulty in understanding facial expressions and body language. Speech therapies are hence designed to overcome such speech delay symptoms.
Need for Speech Therapy for Children with Autism
You will find that every child, after getting diagnosed has different communicative strengths and weaknesses. Hence, it is important to design a plan of action, different for every child. However, a general course of action goes like this.
Usually, autistic children cannot speak spontaneously. They only speak when they are asked to, or when responding to specific questions. The child must be able to communicate their basic wants and needs, so the first step involves establishing functional and spontaneous communication with them, without any such prompts. The therapists work on reducing such prompts gradually, so they can speak independently over time. A general example is teaching a child what to say in some situations, then fading your prompt back to visual cues and eventually to a simple gesture.
The next step involves giving social instructions. Autistic children cannot readily understand what socially acceptable behavior is, which is why direct instructions can be of huge help. This includes how the child should say and do in different social settings as well as how to listen actively and attend. Your therapist will first target basic skills like following directions, listening, and answering spontaneously. You can get the aid of visuals, and videos that demonstrate expected behaviors. Some books are designed to show children expected behavior in some social situations.
Through the help of speech delay therapy, your child will get efficient in speech pragmatics, what to say, when to say, how to say it, and to whom to say it? By learning speech pragmatics, your child can carry on conversations with a back-and-forth exchange. By having the ability to answer questions, follow directions, speak without prompts and converse in a group, your child will soon become proficient in functional and spontaneous use of language, overcoming the gap of speech delay. The process will improve further with speech delay therapy at home.
Speech Delay vs Autism | The Difference
Speech delay does not necessarily mean your child has ASD. A child can face speech or language delays due to slower development or any other speech motor disorder. However, children with autism face communication challenges and are socially inclined. Because of this, there is a huge milestone in speech development. This, in turn, leads to hindrance in establishing meaningful relationships.
The activities and strategies in speech therapy delay in Dubai vary with age. Parents and caregivers can also take part in this systematic routine to help build the child’s communication skills from an early age.