Role of Speech Therapy in the Treatment of Autism
Speech delays are observed when a child does not build up language skills and can be perceived at an early age of 18 months. People with autism find it difficult to interact socially because of verbal and nonverbal communication problems. Therefore speech therapy is used, which tries to eliminate speech delays in children with autism. It helps them in improving their way of delivering a speech and also focuses on their nonverbal communication. A speech therapy program starts with examining the person’s communication barriers and strengths through a speech-language pathologist (SLP). An SLP is a therapist who cures speech problems and determines the individual goals that are to be accomplished during therapy. These goals may include:
- improvement in verbal communication
- learning nonverbal communication, like symbols or gestures
- finding out other ways of communication methods, like through pictures or technology
- knowing the right time to say something- for example, when to say “thank you”
- communicating with peers to develop relationships
If someone faces trouble in both verbal and nonverbal modes of communication, then the alternative speech methods are introduced as mentioned above.
How to Treat Development Delay in Autistic Children?
Development delay is one of the symptoms of Autism which requires consultation by a physician. It refers to a delay in acquiring language or social skills, which should have been acquired at a quite early stage of growth. It occurs in a child due to a number of reasons, which may include heredity or premature birth. However, the reason is not always known.
According to a research, almost 17 percent of children in the age bracket of 3 and 17 years of age face one or more development delays or disabilities. These delays can be treated through various therapies, depending on the type of delay. Motor skill delays, for instance, can be treated through physical therapies, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through behavioral and educational therapies.
How Behavior Therapy Helps Children Learn Interpersonal Skills
Autism cannot be cured fully but steps can be taken to eliminate or reduce the symptoms leading to it. Behavior therapy enhances social growth amongst children and enables them to develop their skills. There are multiple behavior therapies available, out of which a suitable therapy must be selected that provides the maximum number of benefits. It is useful to mention that changes should be made in it, depending on the needs of the child. These therapies can be:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA): This type of therapy is used in children who have severe symptoms and an ideal time frame, for it commonly requires 40 hours per week. It highly focuses on the children’s communication, social and academic skills, and teaches them how to play with their peers. The therapist divides the skills into parts and helps the child to learn through repetition, reinforcement and encouragement. He or she observes the child’s behavior towards learning, and then decides what would work to their benefit.
- Verbal Behavior Therapy (VBT): This therapy focuses on verbal communication and teaches children how to communicate effectively. For example, the therapist might place a toy in front of the child, which will encourage them to speak. This therapy is conducted several times and through repetition the child learns that, to get something, he or she needs to use language.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy is used in children who have mild symptoms of autism. It helps children overcome their fears and anxiousness, and practice exercises that help eliminate them instead of freaking out about it.
Small Steps Big Dreams in Dubai, UAE helps children through struggles like speech delay, and provides learning programs to ensure that children have a grasp over their skills. Various therapies are arranged to make sure that children excel in their academic skills and achieve a successful career ahead. An environment full of learning must be provided to the children to observe a positive change in their behavior and personality.