Do you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder?
If so, this can be a frightening and worrisome time for you as a parent.
Naturally, you want the best for your child. But an autism diagnosis can fill you with uncertainty.
Or, have you yourself discovered you’re autistic later in life? Has this discovery felt like a watershed moment as you finally feel like you understand why you’ve always felt different?
We can help.
And while not every autistic person has need of speech therapy treatments, some do.
At Sol Speech & Language Therapy, one of the speech therapy treatments we offer is for autism spectrum disorder.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term for a variety of different disorders. In the past, these disorders were considered different, but more modern research has shown them to be different variations of the same disorder.
These include what was formerly known as autistic disorder, as well as Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition, which means it affects the way a child’s brain develops. There are a number of different symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, and most autistic people won’t display all of them. Broadly speaking, though, they’re divided into two different categories.
Communication & Social Issues
Autistic people often have issues with understanding social cues and communicating with others. This can include:
- Difficulty with understanding and communicating their emotions
- Difficulty with sharing interests, or overly sharing interests
- Difficulty with carrying a conversation
- Difficulty maintaining eye contact
- Difficulty understanding body language or facial cues
- Difficulty forming & maintaining relationships
Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior
Autistic people tend to fixate on repetitive behaviors and routine. They often struggle with change. This can include:
- Repetitive movements
- Speech patterns
- Hyper fixation on routine
- Hyper fixation on certain interests or hobbies
- Being either hypersensitive or under-sensitive to sensory stimulus (eg. loud sounds, bright or flashing lights, etc)
Have a speech concern?
Sol Speech & Language Therapy can help.
Contact us today to find out how.
How Does Autism Spectrum Disorder Affect Speech Development?
In terms of speech therapy, autism spectrum disorder can range from no communication issues whatsoever to the inability to communicate verbally at all.
In terms of how autism can influence speech & language development, an autistic person may:
- Be completely nonverbal
- Communicate only in shrieks or grunts
- Speak with a singsong quality
- Repeat words that others say
- Have a monotone voice
- Make nonsensical sounds that resemble words
- Have difficulty understanding what individual words mean
- Memorize the words people use, but not understand what they mean
- Have difficulty understanding words in different contexts
Signs Of Autism In Babies
If you have a new baby who seems like they’re not proceeding the way all the mommy blogs suggest they should, it can be cause for concern. But is it autism? Here are some of the signs of autism in babies:
- Poor eye contact
- Not recognizing their name
- Not pointing
- Subdued facial expression
It’s also possible for babies to be progressing normally, and then lose the skills they’ve developed. This is a sign of childhood disintegrative disorder.
If your baby is showing the above signs, they may have autism spectrum disorder. These signs can be obvious from a young age, sometimes before baby’s first year. It’s a good idea to get them evaluated as soon as possible if you notice these signs.
Speech Therapy For Autistic Children
If your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at any age, a pediatric speech therapist can help.
Like many speech therapy treatments, it starts with an assessment of your child’s abilities. From there, your pediatric speech therapist will put together a plan to help your child communicate.
In some cases, this can look like working on your child’s speech and language skills. Depending on your child’s individual needs, your pediatric speech therapist may focus on:
- Improving articulation
- Understanding nonverbal conversational cues
- Understanding conversational intentions
- Knowing when to begin a conversation
- Knowing when it is and isn’t appropriate to say certain things
- Understanding how to develop relationships
- Knowing how to regulate their emotions
In the case of nonverbal autism, your speech therapist may use devices like electronic talkers, picture boards, or other forms of augmentative & alternate communication (AAC) systems.
Speech Therapy For Autistic Adults
If you’re an adult who’s recently discovered you’re autistic, it might be a moment of clarity as you begin to understand the reason behind the difficulties you’ve had with communicating and with interpersonal relationships in your life.
If you’ve managed to make it to adulthood without an autism diagnosis, it’s likely your symptoms are relatively mild. Nonverbal children, for example, usually receive treatment, since it tends to be more difficult to miss.
As a result, the greatest struggles autistic adults deal with are often with social skills. In these cases, speech therapy can still help.
Speech therapy for adults with autism often focus on helping develop social skills.
Through working with your speech therapist, you can gain a better understanding of social cues and how to form meaningful relationships. We’ll listen to your frustrations, understand your goals, and put together a plan to help get you there.
Book Your Appointment With Sol Speech & Language Therapy Today
Have you or your child been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder?
If so, there are challenges ahead, but you don’t have to face them alone.
Book your appointment today with Sol Speech & Language Therapy.
Clear, confident communication is possible. Sol Speech & Language Therapy can help.
Book a consultation today to find out how.