If your child has autism, speech therapy can help your child improve his or her communication. Children with speech limitations benefit from speech therapy that not only teaches them words but helps them understand how to meaningfully use language to communicate. Check out some of the ways you can help your child get the most from his or her speech therapy sessions.
1. Get the Whole Family Involved
Most of the time, kids only see their speech therapist for a few hours each week. The rest of the time, they are with their family members. This gives each family member a valuable opportunity to help the child learn to use language.
If possible, have each family member attend a speech therapy session so that he or she can learn techniques that encourage the development of language. Don't forget caregivers! Babysitters also serve a valuable role in integrating actions that assist your child with learning how to communicate.
2. Incorporate Technology
When used correctly, technology actually assists with the development of language. There are multiple programs available for both computers and tablets that help autistic children improve their speech. These programs help children learn how to appropriately respond to social situations, solve social problems, and how to express their emotions using language.
3. Make Sure Your Child's School is on the Same Page
If your child attends school, it is important to make sure that your child's educators understand what accommodations your child requires to learn with his or her speech limitations. Common accommodations include allowing reading tests out loud, giving extra time for tests, and enabling the student to answer verbally rather than writing the answers.
Your child likely qualifies for a 504 education plan or an individual education plan (IEP). Consult with a special education counselor at your child's school to see which plan your child should use and to specifically list the changes required by the plan. Once in place, the school must legally follow the plan.
4. Seek Early Intervention
It is important for autistic children to receive speech therapy as early as possible. Early intervention, from a treatment center such as Functionabilities Pediatric Therapy, is a public service designed to help babies and toddlers who are developmentally delayed. Even if your child has not received an official diagnosis of autism, early intervention services get the ball rolling in terms of helping your child overcome speech delays.
Another benefit of early intervention is that services are usually free or charged on a sliding scale based on the family's income. This helps ensure that financial concerns do not prevent children from getting the services they need.