In addition to the ABA framework for a child with autism, the role of speech and language therapists is to help shape how they address communication impediments. Also known as Speech-Language Pathologists, SLPs will work with children on a wide range of developmental delays and ongoing issues that require their specialized treatment.
An integral part of working with a licensed professional is creating unique programming for your child’s specific therapeutic needs. This will help augment the ongoing ABA framework that allows your child to grow their skills for a better life.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an SLP?
Speech-Language Pathologists work to assess, diagnose, and treat social communication and speech and language disorders in children with autism. These can include therapy for impediments such as:
- Difficulty pronouncing or forming words
- Receptive or expressive language difficulties
- Social use of verbal and non-verbal communication
- Feeding and swallowing
- Early intervention practices for speech and language disorders
Any work that a licensed SLP does with your child is designed to fit their needs best. For children with autism, this can include small-group therapy or one-on-one clinic time. In any case, the goal is to integrate exercises with an existent ABA framework and to include therapists, teachers, and parents in decision-making.
Why is Speech and Language Therapy Important for Autism Treatment?
ASD is neurologically linked to many issues that include communication and cognitive skills. If your child is suffering from developmental delays or speech and communication issues, an SLP can work to provide the best practices and structure to improve.
With early screening and diagnosis, an SLP can become a key part of your child’s autism treatment team. The ability to work with other specialists to create holistic growth for your child is an extremely valuable part of the ABA treatment that is recommended for children with autism.
Finally, if your child is having issues directly related to speech and communication, there is no reason to settle for any less than the best in care. Licensed SLPs help transform the patterns and outputs for all people, and especially children with autism.
How does Speech-Language Therapy work with ABA Treatment?
The work a speech-language therapist does is typically just a portion of the work needed for functionally improving communication. After all, there are other environments, delays, or personality traits that might inhibit the communicative output for your child. Thus, the collaboration between SLP and other therapists, educators, and caretakers is vital.
Additionally, ABA is a greater systemic approach to behaviors and changing them. SLPs use ABA principles when they work with children who have autism on a regular basis. These can include unique programming mechanics such as:
- Intensive Individualized Instruction: The care an SLP gives to your child needs to fit their specific needs. This may include rigorous one-on-one repetitions of exercises or reinforcement of micro behaviors that are being addressed.
- Reinforcement of Outcomes: A large part of ABA efficacy is positive reinforcement for a desired behavior. Speech-Language therapists for autism employ these tactics as well.
- Generalization: It is important that a child with autism be able to replicate their changed behaviors across multiple environments. These include any clinical setting, school, home, or social environments.
- Evidence-Based Decision Making: Setting goals and tracking progress of individual behaviors and mechanics is key in effective ABA therapy. SLP’s also use evidence-based approaches to their treatment including data collection to help determine and track progress.
These are just some of the ways that having a quality SLP work alongside your child’s ABA framework can amplify the benefits of programming. This is also why having healthy communication between all clinicians, parents, and educators is so important.
SLP Routines for Children With Autism
There are many ways speech therapy helps children with autism. The best thing an SLP can do is create a routine that your child enjoys and grows from while being able to generalize it to other environments. These exercises may include things such as:
1) Songs or rhymes to practice speaking rhythm and conversational routine
2) Articulation practice for challenging words
3) Picture boards or technology-assisted visual support for communication exercises
4) Animal noises or fun phrases for prompt/response practice
5) Request situations (“more, less, yes/no”) for toys or food
6) Playtime or pretend modeling
7) Graduate to an unstructured setting that ties into your child’s interests
Ultimately, an SLP will be tasked with creating functional exercises to improve your child’s skills over time. These tasks and routines will evolve as your child does, and the best speech therapists will not settle for diminishing returns. Once again, a healthy conversation between you and your therapist about what works best in other environments will provide them an opportunity to create the best framework.
Work With the Best Speech-Language Therapists at Ally Pediatric
At Ally Pediatric Therapy, our speech-language pathologists integrate the principles of applied behavioral analysis for the best results possible. This combined plan of care has provided children with autism the tools to improve their communication skills and become more confident as a person.
If your child is a candidate for speech or language therapy, please reach out today – we’d love to start a conversation and help build a better life from it.