The Australian Government has committed ongoing funding to address the need for services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their families and carers. The ENT Clinic Randwick is an approved provider of the Australian Government Better Start and FaHCSIA programs. To make an appointment for speech therapy contact us today. We see children with autism for speech therapy.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) IV classifies Autism Spectrum Disorders as a group of pervasive developmental disorders. This classification includes Autism, Asperger’s and PDD-NOS (Pervasive developmental disorders – not otherwise specified). In 2013, the DSM V is scheduled to be released, with Autism, Asperger’s and PDD-NOS to be classified under one umbrella term “Autism Spectrum Disorders” (click here for more details). A diagnosis of Autism is established by a registered paediatrician, psychiatrist or neurologist.
Autism is characterised by difficulties in reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behaviour, interests and activities. A breakdown of characteristics identified by the DSM IV is summarised below.
- Impairment in the use of non verbal behaviours such as eye to eye contact, facial expression, body posture and gestures
- Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level (difficulty establishing friendships)
- Difficulty understanding other points of view
- Lack of spontaneously seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with others.
- Difficulty understanding and expressing emotion
- Limited social reciprocity. A child may prefer solitary activities or engage with others only if able to help achieve desired outcome.
- A delay or lack of development of spoken language. This is not accompanied by an attempt to communicate by other means (i.e. gesture or sign)
- Tendency to talk too much or too little
- Those with functional speech, have difficulty initiation or sustaining conversation.
- Rigid language use with stereotyped or repetitive phrasing “echolalia”
- Limited use or lack of engagement in ‘make-believe’ social plays (relative to developmental level). Difficulty using language in play.
- Unusual vocal tone or voice patterns
- Literal interpretation of language
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of interest that is unusual in either intensity or focus.
- Examples of interests include trains, Thomas the Tank Engine, gadgets, spinning items.
- Seemingly inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals (may become upset if routine is broken)
- Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms. DSM provides examples such as hand or finger flapping or twisting, lining objects up or complex whole body movements.
- Persistent occupation with parts of objects
- May be overly or under sensitive to sensations i.e. noise, taste, light, touch (including being held), smell or texture (e.g. dislikes being on grass or sand)
- May have an abnormally high or low pain tolerance.
What we can do
Speech therapy aims to improve a child’s communication, language and social skills. This is done with a view to enhancing their abilities to understand and interact with the world.
Detailed initial and ongoing assessments of communication and social interaction are completed. Assessment results are used to establish goals in collaboration with families and the child. To achieve goals, one on one, weekly therapy sessions work on established language and social interaction goals. Parental training is also integrated into therapy as required. Parents or the primary carer have the most contact and interaction with their child, so are in the best position to help generalise skills learnt in therapy to other everyday environments.
If you have questions about autism 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.