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Speech and Language Therapy for Fragile X syndrome

A high percentage of individuals with Fragile X syndrome will experience difficulties in their speech, language and communication. Individuals with Fragile X syndrome may additionally have problems with their eating, drinking and swallowing.

Children with fragile X syndrome will often present with delayed speech and language development. Speech and language therapy helps to develop and improve speech, language and communication and aims to maximise the individual's communication to their highest potential.

It is common for individuals with fragile X syndrome to have better receptive language (understanding) than expressive language. The severity and areas of speech and language affected will vary for each individual with fragile X syndrome.

The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will determine the type and severity of the speech, language or communication difficulties the individual is experiencing. An initial assessment will also help to decide on an appropriate treatment plan.

Speech and language therapy will offer an individualised therapy programme tailored to the individual's specific needs and abilities.

Speech and language therapy may work on the following areas of speech and language when treating individual's with fragile X syndrome:

  • Speech
  • Expressive language (spoken and written)
  • Receptive language (understanding)
  • Social communication
  • Attention and listening
  • Eating, drinking and swallowing
  • Alternative ways of communicating

Speech and language therapy can provide a variety of treatment options for individuals with Fragile X syndrome. The type of treatment option implemented will depend on the type of speech and language difficulty the individual with fragile X is experiencing and the severity of their difficulties.

Different treatment options which speech and language therapy can use to help individuals with fragile X syndrome include:

  • Speech and articulation exercises.
  • Language programmes (both receptive and expressive).
  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication (ways of communicating other than speech).
  • Social skills therapy.
  • Turn taking and attention and listening activities.

Speech and language therapy can help to improve the intelligibility (how well we are understood by others) of an individual's speech and help them to use their language more effectively. Speech and language therapy can also help to improve the individuals eating, drinking and swallowing ability.

In more severe cases where an individual is non-verbal (has no speech) or has very limited speech, the speech and language therapist may introduce the use of Alternative and Augmentative Communication. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is an alternative form of communication other than speech. Types of AAC include sign language, picture exchange communication system and electronic communication devices.

Speech and language therapy will work with individuals, their parents / carers and others involved in their care e.g. educational staff to help improve and support an individual's communication.

If you feel that our speech and language therapy service would be beneficial and would like to arrange an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists, please email or call 0330 088 6693.

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