About speech therapy for children with autism
Autism is at the root of a number of developmental disorder domains in children.
The three major signs of autism:
- delays in communication
- difficulties in social interaction
- the display of repeating an exclusive set of behaviours, activities or interests while oblivious to others
However, the root does not necessarily imply that a child may exhibit only one of the domains that lead to a diagnosis of autism. It is possible that a child may exhibit an array of these disorders and this condition is called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Autism, as a singular diagnosis, has traditionally been identified by the appearance one of the three major behaviour domains listed above, or perhaps a combination of them, but ASD in the modern day should be the diagnosis with the appearance of all three domains.
Asperger Syndrome was a diagnosis very similar to autism, distinguished by the lack of an expressed deficiency of acquiring communication skills, although it may identify unusual language use. This diagnosis now falls under the “umbrella” term ASD.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) was also an old category. This was used as a more subtle diagnosis which either exhibits one of the three behaviour disorders noted above but not the others, or it exhibits a very mild expression of one or more of them.
The cause of ASD has not yet been determined with certainty, but there are suspicions of several factors including genetics, prenatal factors and neuro-anatomical studies.
The observation of ASD trends with families, and twins in particular, lead researchers to believe that genetics plays a role as significant as any other possible cause. The incidence of diagnosis with siblings of ASD patients is up to thirty times more frequent than in the global population. While no single gene has been identified with a marker for the condition, it seems that several genes, combined, do show markers.
Prenatal care complications have seen a higher incident of resulting ASD diagnoses than in general population.
Neuro-anatomical studies show the relationship between ASD and the observation of abnormal brain growth, on the one hand, and internally, the excessive development of neurons in one area of the brain while deficient development is noted in other areas.
How speech therapy can help children with autism
Speech pathologists are therapists who specialise in treating language problems and speech disorders. They are a key part of the autism treatment team. With early screening and detection of people at risk, speech therapists often lead the way in helping with the diagnosis of autism and in making referrals to other specialists.
Once autism is diagnosed, speech therapists can assess the best ways to improve communication and enhance a person’s quality of life. Throughout therapy, the speech pathologist works closely with the family, school and other professionals. If someone with autism is non-verbal or has major trouble with speech, the speech therapist may introduce alternatives to speech.
If you have questions or concerns about autism spectrum disorder contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!