Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Speech Therapy For Non Verbal Autism

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Speech Therapy Can Boost Language Understanding

‘It is just like a miracle. Local therapy helps a non-verbal boy with autism speak

Children with non-verbal autism sometimes face challenges understanding spoken languages. Attending therapy sessions with a seasoned SLP or speech therapist can help children expand their understanding of oral communication.

Children on the non-verbal autism spectrum may also struggle with comprehending the speaker’s intention. However, with therapy, children can learn to better understand non-verbal communication such as facial expressions.

Other Forms Of Communication For Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

AAC Devices, or , are the most popular among nonverbal autistics. AAC includes everything from a typed message on a computer and written words on a board to higher-technology type devices such as handheld electronics with input and output communication functions, also known as speech-generating devices. There are also applications on both iOS and Android that help those individuals with nonverbal Autism to communicate effectively

American Sign Language is an entire language made from hand and finger gestures and movements that allow those who are deaf or have language difficulties to communicate with the world around them. ASL is less popular as technology continues to expand and increase in efficiency. ASL must be understood by not just those who are using it but also to those in receipt of the communication, making it a less popular alternative communication method for those with Autism

PECS, as briefly described above, involves a picture exchange communication system where children typically carry around either a deck of cards or a binder of pictures with items and wants/needs in their daily lives. Children are taught that by exchanging a desired picture with their caregiver, theyll receive that item or activity. PECS are also great for labeling common items and building vocabulary for children at any level of language learning

Speech Therapy Materials For Autistic Kids

By Yolande Loftus, BA, LLB

As a parent you have a tool, an expertise that puts you in position to supplement your childs therapy at home. This expertise is unmatched by even the most qualified therapist: you know your child. Your intimate knowledge puts you in a unique position to help your child thrive

Home is where the heart is, or lately it seems like home is where everything is. Our changing world forced home to become the epicentre of our world. Since were working, schooling and shopping from home, many parents with kids on the spectrum are also delving into therapy and treatment executed from home.

Parents are putting on an increasing rota of hats, therapist being one of the more challenging. But many experts believe a parents insider knowledge is a piece of the therapy puzzle that can lead to more complete development in areas of difficulty. Afterall, who knows a childs areas of struggle better than a parent? Embracing a strength or interest based intervention program is also best suited to someone with first hand knowledge of the childs specific strengths and special interests.

When it comes to speech therapy, an experts advice is invaluable. Speech-language pathologists identify, prevent, treat, and manage a variety of speech and language deficits and/or developmental challenges. While an experts input is often the most appropriate starting place, many parents wonder about continuing or supplementing speech therapy at home for their child on the spectrum.

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Learning/using Augmentative And Alternative Communication

Depending on the individuals history with Speech Therapy, they may already have access to a form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication . If they dont, one of the first areas of focus for someone with Non-Verbal Autism in Speech Therapy will be to select an appropriate AAC method and learn to use it.

AAC is a big category of communication methods! Here are a few that are commonly used by those with Non-Verbal Autism:

  • Key Word Sign / Sign Language
  • Picture Exchange Communication System
  • Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display Book or Digital Form
  • LAMP Words for Life
  • Speech Generating Device
  • iPad or Tablet App

What Is Speech Therapy And Who Provides It


Speech therapy is a broad field involving the assessment and treatment of speech and language disorders. Speech therapy can assist children that stutter or have difficulty using their lips and tongues to correctly form words, as well as making it easier for children with developmental challenges to learn and use spoken language in social situations.

Speech-Language Pathologists administer the assessments and procedures and design an appropriate care plan for those with communication and speech needs. Depending on the type of speech or language delay, this may include articulation therapy, language intervention exercises, or another method as determined by the SLP.

This type of therapist generally holds a master’s degree and works with children in a private setting such as a clinic, school, or institution as part of a teaching team. They administer speech therapy with a variety of tools and methodology, including toys, play therapy, and rigorous testing and instruction following a treatment plan.

Also Check: Best Text-to-speech Service

Speech Clarity And Sound Production

Finally, one of the most fascinating areas of Speech Therapy for Non-Verbal Autism focuses on verbal speech production. For some, this may start with oral motor activities that strengthen the individuals muscles around the jaw and mouth and improve placement of the tongue and mouth to elicit speech sounds. This oral motor activity ensures that they are building the form and function they need to produce different sounds verbally.

If there are already some sounds being produced, the focus may shift to improving speech clarity by reducing errors in speech sounds or phonological processes.

Now that youve made your way to the end of our article, we hope youve learned something useful to help you as you support your child or loved one with Non-Verbal Autism.

If youre interested in booking an initial Speech Therapy session, and are based in Queensland, our friendly team at SpeechEase Speech Therapy would love to help you. Please get in touch with our team today to discuss your options.

We have Speech Pathology clinics in Townsville, Mackay, and Brisbane we hope to see you soon! For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder head on over to our What is Non-Verbal Autism page now.

*Please note this information is general in nature.

Is Speech Therapy Only For Autism

Speech and language impairment is one of the defining characteristics of Autism

Its a question that often bothers speech therapists and parents alike. Its not just that Speech Therapy applies only to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder it is equally effective for typically developing children if you want them to improve on their respective communication skills. Trying a few specific speech therapy exercises can come to immense help. However, in this guide, we would be primarily focused on Autism Speech Therapy strategies and techniques that parents and educators and easily deploy.

Autism, as we know of it, affects languages in very significant, and more than one ways. It makes the proper use of language functionally and socially pretty challenging. The intensity of impairment in language and speech delays often varies from child to child. To counter the problem, some of the best speech therapy specialists came up with a few ideas that worked around several areas of communication.

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Determining If Speaking Is An Option

Some children who are nonverbal may be able to develop the ability to speak with some practice.

Having them attempt to imitate sounds or simple words can show whether or not further developing speech may be a viable option.

If they are able to form basic sounds then further speech development is probably possible.

Let Your Child Set The Pace And The Topic That Holds Their Interest

Learning To Talk – Nonverbal Autism and Speech Therapy

Its important to take your childs lead. Allowing your child to choose the topic and set the pace is a great way to make sure they dont lose focus. Follow along with what your child is already doing and narrate their activity using words. So, if your child is sorting shapes, say square when they hold up that shape and in when they place that piece in its proper basket.

This way, you are allowing your child to focus on what they are interested in and encouraging your child to connect the words with their chosen activity.

Choosing your words so that they are easier for your child to understand is a wise idea. You may consider talking to your child using only single words like take or ball in the beginning. Using a single word makes things very simple for your child to understand and imitate. Then, as your child starts using these words, you can add a word to the phrase, like take toy or roll ball. You can keep building on the phrases to they are able to convey complete ideas in full sentences.

Also Check: What Language Do Italians Speak

Can A Child Be Nonverbal And Not Autistic

As we have mentioned numerous times, children develop at their own rates. But there are some milestones they hit while growing up.

Studies show that typically developing children generally produce their first words between 12 and 18 months old. However, in the case of children with autism, this rate is reported to be an average age of 36 months.

Late speech does not necessarily mean autism diagnosis. A child could be nonverbal or have delayed speech for some other unrelated reasons. Here are some:

  • Problems with the mouth
  • Autism spectrum disorder

Use Their Favorite Toys And Snacks

You can use your childâs favorite toy and snacks for this activity. Keep the items out of their reach but within their line of sight.

It may take them a while, but your child can learn to gesture or signal for it. You can help them by pointing and saying the word, âtoyâ or âsnackâ for the first few days.

The next step is the child leading the adult by either gestures, signs, or looks towards the item they want. A child with mild to moderate signs of ASD may also learn the name of the items and use the names to ask for them.

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Speech Therapy Fosters Interactions

Children on the non-verbal autism spectrum typically react favorably to play-based speech therapy. Therapists integrate play-based therapy using toys that the child is interested in. This play therapy provides children with the opportunity to communicate with others in a calm, natural, and relaxed setting.

It Teaches Alternative And Augmentative Forms Of Communication

AAC Tools For Communication: Low

Children with nonspeaking autism may simply prefer other forms of communication. Your child may already be using the no-tech to low-tech options of Alternative and Augmentative Forms of Communication like pointing, gesturing or drawing.

An SLP can teach them how to use other tech-powered options like using an app on an iPad or smartphone.

Some older children with nonspeaking autism benefit from learning the use of speech-generating devices on a computer.

When your child begins attending therapy, you will understand whether they may advance in their speech skills. In most cases, children with autism understand spoken language, but prefer to use other forms of language to communicate.

The target of speech therapy in such cases is to provide them with resources and teach them the skills necessary for communication.

Also Check: What Language Do Native Americans Speak

Signs My Autistic Child Will Talk

You may ask yourself will my nonverbal autistic child ever speak?. The answer to that question is not easy to give.

Research shows that nonverbal children of age 4 who were nonverbal until that point could produce single words and phrases without verbs.

The important thing here is to provide the right support and help to your child, suitable to their needs. If your child is babbling, or trying to convey something through their behavior, you should lean into it and practice speech exercises.

Many parents and caregivers report that they have had success with such exercises at home, along with the help of professional intervention like speech therapy.

When Is It Decided An Autistic Child Is Verbal/nonverbal

Each individual develops at their own rate. However, research showed that one third to half of parents of autistic children noticed issues before their childs first birthday. Also, around 80% to 90% saw problems before the child turned 2.

There are certain symptoms that may indicate that the child has verbal/nonverbal autism. Here are some:

  • Not responding to their name by the age of 1
  • Not babbling towards parents or caregivers by the age of 1
  • Not pointing at objects of interest by the age of 14 months
  • Not imitating the parents or caregivers by the age of 18 months
  • Repeating words over and over
  • Flapping their hands
  • Not meeting developmental milestones in terms of speech and language

Recommended Reading: Why Is Free Speech Important

Language Development And Communication For Nonverbal Autistic Children

Autism spectrum disorder is one that has a broad range of symptoms, but many with its diagnosis have similar core symptoms. Difficulties with language and communication is a shared struggle for many. Thankfully, with todays constantly evolving technology and research, individuals with Autism are able to be taught to use spoken language if they have the cognitive capability or learn to communicate through devices and apps such as GoTalk or a Picture Exchange Communication System .

What A Speech Therapist Does For People With Autism

Signs of Autism: Raising a Non-Verbal Child

Speech therapists can play a major role in helping an autistic child learn to communicate and engage with other people. Depending on the setting , your child’s therapist may work 1:1 or in groups. And depending on your child’s functional level, the therapist may focus on one or all these skills:

It’s important to note that while speech therapy is a “must” for autistic children, it can also be extremely beneficial for adults on the autism spectrum. While children often focus on the basics of communication, adults may focus on more subtle forms of communication for different types of social interactions.

Also Check: Google Speech-to-text App

What Lies Beyond Speech Therapy

Since many, if not most individuals with nonspeaking autism spectrum disorder prefer not to use spoken language for communication, speech therapy may not benefit older children.

If your child is speaking a few words after attending speech therapy, that is a sign of improvement. As your SLP will say, speech therapy for autism takes time, especially in the case of someone with nonspeaking autism.

Speech Therapy In Autism Treatment

Read time: 2 minutes

Communication represents one of the core challenges for autistic children. Speech Therapy in autism treatment is essential. They may have difficulties engaging in a conversation. Not picking up on social cues, they might find it hard to interact with their peers.

A speech-language pathologist can help autistic children improve their communication and social skills. Addressing key areas, the therapy team will help the child overcome daily challenges and learn how to function within a social context.

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When To Start Speech Therapy

If your child is suffering from Autism and showing the symptoms of weak speech production in the early stage of development, then an early intervention is better. Autism is usually evident before age 3, and language delays can be recognized as early as 18 months of age.

It is very important to start speech therapy as early as possible when it can have the greatest impact. Intensive speech therapy treatment can help lessen the difficulties that may result from this social communication disability.

The manifestation of autism is different for each child and their speech and communication can be also affected in varying degrees based on severity. The common challenges the children can face include-

With Intensive speech therapy in Dubai, some of these challenges can be tackled or maintained early on. So if you want your child to overcome speech impairments, then overcome this followed by path-breaking intensive speech therapy.

Preschool Speech Therapy Ideas For Autism

Speech Therapy for Toddlers

Preschool sees first the importance of social use of language. Children, here, play parallel or play together and to any child with communication barriers, this can be a lot of challenge. A lot of the kids on the spectrum have these barriers. But preschoolers on the spectrum benefitted when some of these ideas were tried.

  • Participate in plays. Take turn every now and then. If its tennis, encourage the child to say my turn every time he or she has to serve. To encourage further, you can play memory games. Taking turns in a game like this helps a child to prepare for taking turns in conversations.
  • Phrases and strategies can be taught and devised to interact with peers. Shared activities are highly fruitful in teaching communications. Playing with blocks, using the sensory table or playing Eye Spy all these improve a childs sense of conversational perspectives. Role-playing games too. Preschoolers enjoy that when a game is devised with age-appropriate language skills. Playing house or restaurant or grocery store playing the role of a doctor, or veterinarian is also very enticing to the kids in the spectrum. Making a child familiar with such routines and teaching a language to go with it will make him/her more successful with the peers.

Read Also: Speech Therapy For Stuttering Adults

How Speech Therapy Benefits Children With Autism

Lisa Sullivan, MS, is a nutritionist and health and wellness educator with nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry.

Almost anyone diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will be recommended for speech therapy. In some cases, this makes perfect sense because many autistic children have limited or compromised speech, and clearly need help in forming words and sentences. But even very verbal people with high functioning autism are likely to receive speech therapy. That’s because, while they can form words and sentences, they are likely to misuse and misunderstand language on a regular basis.

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