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Speech and Language Therapy for Autism

Speech and language therapy plays a key role in the identification and treatment of Autism. Some of the main symptoms of Autism include impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication skills as well as difficulties in reciprocal social interaction. Each individual will vary with regards to their level of impairment; some individuals may be unable to speak at all, or have limited speech, as well as difficulties making eye contact, using facial expressions and gestures. Others may be able to speak and have a wide vocabulary but their speech remains repetitive and non-communicative. Other problems that may also be experienced include; difficulties understanding the meaning of words and sentences, intonation problems, and difficulties in initiating or maintaining a conversation.

SLT group work

SLT group work

Speech and Language Therapists play a key role in the evaluation and management of individuals with Autism as they can provide interventions to help improve communication skills. Speech and Language Therapy aims to treat any speech deficits, semantics and pragmatic difficulties. For individuals that are unable to speak, the Speech and Language Therapist can design augmentative and alternative communication systems and devices.

In general, Speech and Language Therapy for children with Autism aims to address the following areas:

  • attention and listening skills
  • development of play skills
  • motivation to communicate
  • social understanding
  • understanding of language
  • expressive communication skills
  • social skills
  • non-verbal communication - including means of expression and gestures
  • conversational skills
  • concept skills
  • communicative aids and devices if appropriate

The speech and language therapist will carry out a full assessment of the individual's speech, language and communication skills. An initial assessment will determine the types of difficulties the individual has and also the severity of these difficulties. An initial assessment will also help to decide on what the most appropriate speech and language therapy treatment will be.

Each individual will receive an individualised treatment plan which will be tailored to their specific needs and abilities of the individual. Treatment will focus on what the individual and / their parents or carers want to work on in therapy.

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for individuals with autism, their parents / carers and others involved in their care. The speech and language therapist will train parents / carers and other professionals involved in their care to help maximise the individual's communication in their home, educational and social environments.

The Speech and Language Therapist will use a wide variety and combination of approaches to provide individualised treatment for individuals with Autism, ensuring that there is family and teacher involvement throughout.

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for individuals with autism and also others involved in their care. Speech and language therapy aims to maximise the individual's communication to their highest potential in their home, educational, work and social environments.

To arrange an assessment with one of our speech and language therapists please contact us by emailing or calling 03300 886 693.

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