It has the role of restoring and stabilizing language, by the differentiated application of specific techniques in the field.
Speech Therapy or Language Disorder Therapy is defined as the discipline of language education and re-education. The role of the speech therapist is to restore and stabilize language by applying different techniques.
If in typical children with disturbances/delays in language development, the speech therapist uses the basic techniques of speech therapy and specific exercises to correct various problems, in children with autism, the approach involves going through certain stages, depending on the child’s abilities and degree of impairment.
In the case of children with autism spectrum disorders, communication and language are one of the major areas affected, the lack of speech being often the reason for parents trying to find answers. In the sphere of speech, both the development of expressive language (what the child says) and the development of receptive language (what the child understands) come into play. Expressive communication includes both vocal language and gestural language. Moreover, writing and reading are also language-related skills.
Speech sessions may begin with the onset of ABA therapy, however, several aspects need to be considered:
- Child Accommodation Period: the beginning of speech therapy should take into account the child’s learning pace and the development stage at which (s)he is at that moment.
- Game: the child learns new skills through games, exercises.
- Rewards: progress is sustained and encouraged continuously, both by the therapist and by the parents/ family at home, depending on the extent to which the child is affected (sometimes the emission of a single sound is a huge progress).
- Working environment: adapting to a new space is necessary and encouraging therapies where the child feels best.
- Collaboration with parents and therapists: a multidisciplinary team will get results faster.
Speech therapy does not get immediate results. The time allocated for speech therapy depends on a case by case basis. In general, a child with autism needs a longer period of time to correct/initiate language. Therefore, speech therapy stops when you think that the little one has a language appropriate to his or her age. There is not a certain period that guarantees its recovery.