Home practice is critical to the carryover of speech and language skills acquired during speech therapy with a licensed SLP. Your SLP will give you home practice to utilize in your child’s more regular environments.
Thus, we’ve taken a look at how SLPs and ABA therapists recommend parents and caretakers practice speech and language skills at home. We hope these tips help you and your child with autism work together for communication success!
Speech Therapy for Children with Autism
Most children who are diagnosed with ASD are candidates for speech-language therapy. This can be due to limited or compromised speech or verbal and non-verbal communication developmental delays. Many children with autism will receive some speech therapy at some point in their lives. The treatment and effect for your child will be based on a consultation and initial diagnosis from an SLP who works alongside an ABA framework of an integrated clinic.
Once you have established a plan of treatment, the baseline metrics, and goals of a speech-language framework for your child, an SLP can work to create home routines for you and your child. Children with autism thrive on routine and practicing in comfortable environments, so home practice can prove to be a valuable component for a child with autism.
What Age is Best for Speech Therapy?
While there is no one-size-fits-all plan for how to give speech therapy at home, early intervention can have the greatest impact on most developmental delays. While this is not a comprehensive list, here are some general indicators that a child with autism might benefit from speech therapy at certain ages:
0-2 Years Old:
- Not babbling or gesturing between 4-12 months old
- Not issuing simple requests or acknowledging them between 12-24 months
- No (or very few) words by 16 months
- Not putting sentences together between 18-24 months old
- Having trouble making certain sounds such as consonants
2-4 Years Old:
- Not verbally communicative at 24 months old
- No meaningful multiple-word phrases between 24-36 months
- Not imitating or repeating at 24 months or later
- No pragmatic social communication patterns between 36-48 years old
4 Years Old +:
- Being only understood by parents and caregivers for the most part
- Lack of basic expressive and receptive language
- Struggles with everyday social or educational communication
Speech therapy needs for children with autism will vary more as they encounter unique delays past 4 years. There are no hard and fast rules for when you should enroll your child in speech-language therapy, but we always recommend addressing potential concerns with your autism therapists and SLP as early as possible.
How to Practice Carryover of Speech Therapy
Creating a routine at home can reduce stress for both you and your child with autism. This routine can and should include speech practice that aligns with their treatment in a clinic. This is especially important because most of your child’s communicative development will occur in this specific environment.
Additionally, being mindful of their other activities and therapies is going to help create a schedule for both of you. Like any other child, a child with autism only has so much bandwidth to take direction and learn. This highlights why it’s important to find opportune times to practice outside the clinic and review the programming provided by a licensed SLP.
The most important component of home-based speech therapy practice is keeping it consistent with activities that are prescribed in-clinic. Your SLP and ABA therapists should work to create programming that can be accessible for parents and caregivers at home.
Speech Therapy Exercises
SLP’s will implement programming that allows you to generalize to home via activities such as:
- One-step directions to multi-step directions (pick up the shirt; walk to the basket; put the shirt in the basket, etc.)
- Vocalizing + gesture pairing with picture books
- Games that include emotional descriptions about their interests, toys, or tasks
- Food chaining and oral motor practice
- Playtime that involves talking and naming items
- Reading and writing activities with specific goals
Speech practice at home for a toddler with autism will look different than speech practice at home for a teenager with autism. The important part is working with professionals to create a home learning environment that your child can thrive in.
Speech Therapy Tips
You will always be your child’s biggest advocate and be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses first. These speech therapy tips will help you augment those abilities:
- Practice, practice, practice – it will help both your child and you.
- Focus on what your child can do instead of overemphasizing what he or she can’t do.
- Keep background noise and distractions to a minimum during learning sessions.
- Listen to your child’s needs and react positively within each lesson.
- Read with your child and encourage them to read outside of the lessons.
Ultimately, working with licensed professionals to create a well-rounded program both in-clinic and at home will give your child the best chance for success. This is why it is so pivotal to discuss home speech practice as early as possible with them.
Provide Home Speech Practice for your Child with Autism
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, we know how important it is for you to be present in the development of your child’s skills. We have the highest-quality speech-language pathologists and licensed ABA therapists so that they can build programming that translates to home environments. This allows you to be the best resource possible as your child continues speech therapy.
If you are looking to connect with clinicians that care about your child’s home education experience, please reach out today – it could be the start of a great conversation.