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Role of Speech Therapy

This topic provides information about the Role of Speech Therapy.

Speech therapist or speech-language pathologists are trained personnel who work with children having speech-related disorders. They also provide screening, consultation, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and counseling services for children with special needs. Speech therapy plays an important role towards the holistic development in a child with autism spectrum disorder. It improves overall communication, enhances social skills, enables to cope up better with the society and function in day-to-day life. It should be started as early as diagnosis is made.

Role of speech therapist

Speech therapist does much more than simply teaching a child to correctly pronounce words. In fact, a speech therapist working with an autistic child may work on a wide range of skills including:

  • Speech articulation: by oromotor exercises of lip and facial muscles, the way a child moves mouth while saying certain words and sounds.
  • Communication: This includes teaching gestural communication, or training with PECS (picture exchange cards), electronic talking devices, and other non-verbal communication tools.
  • Comprehension: The speech therapist engages the child in a functional language activities that involve cognition and social interaction.
  • Speech pragmatics: Use of speech to build social relationships.
  • Conversation skills: Self Talk, parallel talk, sentence elongation, situational talk
  • Conceptual skills: Big and small concept, left & right concept, color concept, body parts concepts, yes and no concept

Facts about speech therapy

  • Many parents make the mistake of considering speech therapy as a miracle cure, the solution to get their children up to speed in terms of their expressive, linguistic skills. It is not a cure, it is just training them to be better and help them to cope up with the surroundings.
  • Just sending the child to a speech therapist for a few hours is not enough for training. The activities need to be practiced at home.
  • Results are fast and evident within 3-4 sittings. Results need time and patience.
  • Parents need to replicate the plan explained by the therapist at home.
  • Therapy must be a part of routine activity in such a way that the child is not even aware that he or she is undergoing a “therapy session”.

Tips for the parents and caregivers

  • Use flashcards and pictures to teach naming.
  • Sing songs to teach the rhythm and flow of sentences.
  • Avoid long sentences and verbal instruction.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward your child every time he or she successfully asks for something or identifies a object.
  • Build conversational routines to help develop language.
  • Has your child made eye contact with you when you say a word.
  • Read aloud to your child from picture books that feature familiar objects and activities, like animals or going to school.
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