Speech and language therapy is an important part of Autism treatment.
Autism Speech and Language Therapy
One of the most common symptoms of autism is difficulty communicating. Speech and language therapy is an important part of improving many autistic patients' quality of life. Difficulties with communication in autistic individuals may range from speech impediments like stuttering to cognitive difficulties understanding or producing spoken or written language. Different forms of speech and language therapy can offer help with these various communication problems.
Speech therapy addresses speech impediments like stuttering, lisping, and other physical issues. Therapists are trained in techniques for adapting to physical limitations and overcoming psychological triggers. When looking for a speech therapist to assist an autistic individual, it is important to find a practitioner who has experience with autism and its unique behavioral issues.
Language therapy is targeted at cognitive impediments, which are often the more difficult issues for autistic individuals. Language therapy for autistic patients may be needed to address difficulty understanding written or spoken language or to assist non-verbal individuals learn alternative methods of communication. Many individuals have had success with Alternative and Augmentative Communication devices (AAC), such as picture or letter boards, or computer-assisted speech systems.
While many autistic individuals will never attain "normal" speech and language ability, early intervention with speech language therapy may offer significant improvement for autistic children with borderline language skills. Even autistic individuals who have not mastered verbal or written language skills can greatly improve their communication ability with picture-oriented systems like PECS, where iconic picture cards are used to communicate needs to caregivers.