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Speech and Language Therapy for Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Speech and language therapy is extremely beneficial for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in helping them to communicate more effectively in their educational, work, social and home environments.

Early intervention for Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a well-researched area within the speech and language therapy field. It has been found that early intervention is highly beneficial for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The earlier intervention is put in place, the better the outcome will be for the individual with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The aim of Speech and Language Therapy is to develop, improve and support communication and social interaction skills. Speech and Language Therapists often work with individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder as they may have an impaired ability to learn language and socially interact. The degree to which language and social communication is affected will vary greatly amongst individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

SLT - group game - social skills

SLT - group game - social skills

Speech and Language Therapists will use a variety of techniques, including visual aids, toys and stories to improve and develop communication skills, including:

  • Attention and listening skills
  • Speech skills
  • Understanding emotions used in language
  • Understanding non-literal language, such as metaphors
  • Social understanding
  • Social skills

A thorough initial assessment will be performed by a Speech and Language Therapist who will use standardised tests and observations to highlight any problems with communication, speech and social skills. Following this assessment, a treatment plan will then be developed in conjunction with the parents/carers/teachers and the individual with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

For individuals who have limited social communication skills, Speech and Language Therapy may focus on:

  • Using visual aids to support learning and understanding
  • Encouraging the individual to engage in the treatment and enjoy the company of others
  • Encouraging play and imagination
  • Teaching parents/carers/teacher techniques to simplify language and how to use visual aids

For those who have more social communication skills, Speech and Language Therapists will work on the above skills as well as:

  • Develop understanding of spoken language
  • Developing play skills
  • Developing the range of settings in which communication takes place
  • Developing the range of uses of communication

Some individuals may have good language skills, but may struggle to use them socially. For these individuals Speech and Language Therapy would work on:

  • Developing problem solving skills in social situations
  • Understanding conversational behaviours
  • Developing higher levels of language skills
  • Teaching parents/carers/teachers to use strategies to support the individual in difficult and challenging social situations

Speech and Language Therapists play a key role in the multidisciplinary team as improved communication will have a positive impact on behaviour, social skills, relationships and self-confidence. Due to the nature of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, symptoms will change as the individual ages and therefore it is vital that interventions are continually evaluated to ensure that they are appropriate.

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

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