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Speech and Language Therapy for Rett Syndrome

Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for individuals with Rett Syndrome. Most individuals with Rett Syndrome will not be able to speak, however, there is still a lot that a Speech and Language Therapist can do to support the communication skills of individuals with Rett Syndrome.

When individuals with Rett Syndrome have no verbal (spoken) communication, there are a variety of non-verbal communication methods that can be provided, as well as communication aids that may be beneficial to help support the individual's communication.

Speech and language therapy will focus on improving, supporting and developing the communication skills of individuals with Rett Syndrome. Speech and language therapy will plan intervention throughout the stages of Rett syndrome to meet the specific needs and abilities of the individual. Therapy will reflect the chronological age and interests of the individual and will be adapted accordingly as they grow e.g. appropriate vocabulary and activities.

Speech and language therapy will usually work on receptive (understanding) and expressive communication through use of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). AAC is any form of communication other than speech.

Types of AAC used for individuals with Rett Syndrome may include:

  • Picture symbols
  • Objects of reference
  • Sign language

Use of AAC helps to develop receptive communication and reduce frustration by allowing the individual with Rett syndrome to express their wants and needs. AAC can consist of hi-tech communication aids e.g. use of computer software and electronic communication systems. AAC also includes low-tech aids which generally