Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. Addresses challenges with language and communication. It can assist people with autism improve their verbal, nonverbal, and social communication. The overall goal is to help the person communicate in more useful and functional ways. It is performed by speech-language pathologists (SLP), which are often referred to as speech therapists.
Communication and speech-related challenges vary from person to person. Some individuals on the autism spectrum are not able to speak. Others love to talk, but have difficulty holding a conversation or understanding body language and facial expressions when talking with others. While others may have difficulty with reading and spelling as wells as issues with spoken and written languages such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and auditory processing disorders. Speech therapists are trained to help with all the above.
So how do you know if this something your child needs? Speech-language pathologist conduct an evaluation to assess the person’s communication strengths and challenges. From this evaluation, the SLP creates individual goals for therapy. Some common goals may include improving spoken language, learning nonverbal skills such as signs or gestures, or learning to communicate using an alternative method such as pictures or technology.
Some examples of skills that a speech therapist may work on include but not limited to:
· Strengthen the muscles in the mouth, jaw, and neck
· Making clearer speech sounds
· Matching emotions with the correct facial expression
· Understanding body language
· Responding to questions
· Matching a picture with its meaning
· Using a speech app on an iPad to produce the correct word
· Modulating tone of voice
The amount of time a child would need speech therapy is dependent on their age, the type and severity of the speech disorder, the frequency of therapy, the underlying medical condition, treatment of an underlying medical condition. Some speech disorders begin in childhood and improve with age, while others continue into adulthood and require long-term therapy and maintenance.
Is speech therapy covered by insurance? Yes, speech therapy is often covered by health insurance. However, in some cases, it may be required for a doctor to state that the therapy is medically necessary for health insurance to provide coverage. Students are often also able to get speech therapy as part of their Individual Education Program (IEP) at school. Speech therapy is often written into IEPs as a related service. Speech services as part of an IEP are provided at no cost to families.
Some young children receive speech therapy through their Early Intervention program. Early intervention is offered in each state to children under 3 who are not growing and developing at the same rate as others. These services are free or low-cost based on your family income.
The following questions can help you learn more about speech therapy before you begin. It can also help you learn whether a particular speech therapist or clinic is a good fit for your family:
1. Who will be working directly with my child?
2. How many years have you been working with people with autism?
3. Where will services be provided?
4. What does the initial assessment involve?
5. What type of insurance do you accept? Will my insurance cover your service?
6. Do you have a waiting list?
7. How many hours of therapy per week?
8. How long are therapy sessions?
9. Can I observe my child’s sessions?
10. What is a typical caseload for each therapist?
11. How are goals determined? Can clients and parents provide input?
12. What does a typical program look like?
13. How do you measure progress?
14. What are some of the typical milestones for speech ad language?
15. What can we do to practice at home?
16. What progress should we expect?
What are the benefits of speech therapy? How successful is speech therapy? Speech therapy can help kids learn to speak more clearly. This helps them feel more confident and less frustrated about speaking to others. Kids who have language issues can benefit socially, emotionally, and academically from speech therapy. The success rate of speech therapy varies between the disorder being treated and age groups. When you start speech therapy can also have an impact on the outcome. Speech therapy for young children has been shown to be most successful when started early and practiced at home with the involvement of a parent or caregiver.
Speech therapy can treat a broad range of speech and language delays and disorders in children and adults. With early intervention, speech therapy can improve communication and boost self-confidence. Your child’s work with a speech therapist may last for months or even a few years. It depends on your child’s needs. You will probably see improvement in your child’s issues, but there is no “cure”. The underlying speech or language issue will still be there.
The therapist can give you and your child strategies to deal with obstacles more effectively. The therapist will likely give you activities to practice at home to reinforce the skills your child is learning. Children that make the most process tend to be those who get involved in their treatment, as well as their parents or caregivers. It is important that the speech therapist and your child are a good match. The speech therapist should have experience working with kids with your child’s specific issue. Speech therapy is just one way to help a child with learning differences related to language and speech.
After speech therapy the individuals with autism, can:
· Communicate both verbally and nonverbally
· Understand words and language
· Able to articulate words well
· Take part in the conversation without being prompted
· Know when to use the words like, ‘good morning’, ‘thank you’, ‘please’, etc.
· Develop conversational skills
· Communicate in school to make friends
· Enjoy communicating and interacting
· Convey their needs and ideas
· Learn self-regulation
Here at BreakThru Autism Services LLC, we provide speech and language therapy to help children on the Autism Spectrum with a variety of communication needs. The areas addressed for communication include, but not limited to, speech articulation, fluency (stuttering), social skills, receptive and expressive language development as well as the usage of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. Our speech therapists strive to not only improve your child’s communication skills but also to provide support and strategies to parents and families.