Speech and Language Therapy for Children with Autism

Whether you just received a diagnosis or you’ve known about your child having autism for a long period of time, you should consider speech and language therapy as part of his/her treatment program. Speech and language therapy is essential for children with autism to develop of communication skills to their full potential If you are looking for a trusted autism treatment center that specializes in speech and language therapy, Ally Pediatric Therapy is your solution. Not only are we experts in speech and language therapy, we have developed a specialized, integrated program that combines applied behavior analysis, (ABA), speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy in order to give each child the opportunity to succeed in all aspects of life.

What is Speech and Language Therapy for Children with Autism?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide therapy to help children with autism become better communicators and learn to engage with others. Speech and language therapy is extremely broad and can be used to help children with autism in a variety of ways, we offer diverse, individualized programs to children who have difficulties with speech, language, communication, social skills, eating, and drinking. SLPs at Ally Pediatric Therapy target a variety of challenges, such as but not limited to:

● Lack of or delays in social-communication

● Limited verbal skills

● Articulation errors or error patterns

● Fluency or stuttering

● Receptive and/or expressive language disorders

● Language processing disorder

● Difficulty with problem-solving

● Pragmatic or social language

● Feeding difficulties

How Does Our Speech Therapy Program Work?

Our speech and language therapy program for children with autism integrates the expertise of speech-language pathologists with evidence-based treatment methods based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Speech-language therapy sessions are conducted by an SLP or speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) based on an individualized plan of care developed by the licensed SLP. A speech-language plan of care is based on standardized testing conducted at the onset of therapy. While other facilities offer therapy in a single discipline, we offer integrated therapy programs with a team of clinicians who are in constant contact about your child’s individual case, progress, goals, and any changes to the set therapy plan. This approach allows for your child to grow in the most supportive, knowledgeable, and collaborative environment possible. Plans of care are updated every three months, approved and signed by the child’s physician, and shared with parents. Standardized testing is conducted annually to see your child’s progress and assess any changes that need to be made to the treatment plan. Therapy sessions may include remediation of speech, language, feeding and/or social skill deficits.

Goals are Important

Our program is unique because we set goals for each individual child and each accomplishment towards reaching that goal is celebrated. Our skilled clinicians work each day to continue learning, developing, and improving our processes to deliver the best possible clinical outcome. Your child’s personalized therapy program will be based on the most effective approach for his or her individual needs.

Listed below are a few examples of speech-language therapy goals and activities we have set in place:

Language:

For an early learner, the therapist may interact with the child in a play activity using toys to facilitate expressive language. If the child reaches for a book, the therapist says, “book,” and then provide access to the book after the child imitates the word. To work on receptive language, the therapist might say, “give me book,” and prompt the child to give the book. For a more advanced learner, the therapist may use an iPad social skills application to build higher-level language skills such as interpreting and responding appropriately to social situations.

Speech:

In our speech therapy program, the therapists use play to facilitate production of sounds, words, and sentences. The therapists may model the sound “b” while using ABA principles to effectively shape that sound. Eventually, the child may say “b” to request a ball and then will continue to work to eventually say the word, “ball.” With a child who demonstrates disfluency, also known as stuttering, the therapist might start with teaching the child to produce fluent speech with short phrases, then move to sentences, followed by short stories, and eventually move to full conversations.

Feeding:

The therapist may use sensory and motor techniques to prepare the mouth for eating and drinking. If a child does not chew food sufficiently before swallowing, the therapist will follow a chewing hierarchy protocol to systematically teach safer and more effective chewing. For a child who is described as a “picky eater,” the therapist will use techniques to work on expanding the variety of foods a child eats.

How do I know if my child needs therapy from a speech-language pathologist?

Knowing the right type of therapy for your child can be difficult, which is why we conduct an initial assessment with your child to create a therapy plan designed for their needs and the needs of the family. For speech therapy, your child may be a candidate if they exhibit any of the following:

● Has no speech at all (non-verbal)

● Speaks too quietly or loudly

● Is in an ABA or school-based autism program and is not making adequate progress in speech skills

● Says some sounds but cannot form words

● Forms some words but can’t put together phrases or full sentences

● Cannot produce certain sounds correctly

● Leaves sounds off words

● Does not communicate wants or needs

● Repeats questions you ask instead of answering them

● Speaks in full sentences, but sometimes/always uses phrases from movies, songs or video games

● Gets frustrated when not understood

● Is in an ABA or school-based autism program and does not have an adequate communication system to get basic needs met, despite the ability to learn new words (i.e., is learning words but not learning to consistently use them to request desired items or activities)

● Uses words to communicate consistently, but when tries to put words together, they are not clear

● Difficulty with mealtimes and/or a “picky eater”

 

 

Who We Serve

Ally Pediatric Therapy is a treatment center focused on integration of speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and applied behavior analysis (ABA). Our professionals work with children ages 2-20 who have been diagnosed with autism or other childhood diagnoses such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disorder, intellectual disability and mental retardation, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. If you are curious about speech and language therapy for your child with autism, or any of the other therapy programs we offer, please contact us today! We are unique in that our programs are family-oriented and geared towards improving your child’s life as well as the entire family. Call us today to set up a tour, consultation and/or an assessment with one of our expert clinicians.