Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) refers to a group of developmental disorders that often affect a person’s ability to interact socially and communicate with others. The signs and symptoms of an autism disorder will typically manifest before the age of three and can include repeating activities, showing an extreme resistance to changes in routine, and various speech problems. Speech pathology is often used to address the problems associated with autism spectrum disorders.
Speech Problems Commonly Associated with Autism
Autism may affect a person’s ability to communicate in a number of different ways. Some may avoid talking completely, and will only communicate through a serious of noises and gestures. Others may speak in a very monotone way, or use inflection in unusual ways. At least one third of people with autism struggle to form worlds, and have trouble communicating because others are unable to understand what they are saying.
How Does Speech Pathology Address Communication Problems Caused by Autism?
Speech pathologists will use a variety of speech therapy techniques in order to strengthen a person’s ability to speak and use language. These professionals will typically monitor a person with autism as they speak, and first try to identify where their strengths and weaknesses lie. A speech therapy plan will then be developed that best addresses the weaknesses.
Speech therapy techniques typically include repeating various exercises that enable better speech muscle control and improve the ability to form sounds correctly. These exercises may include singing songs, matching words with pictures, using electronic talking devices, or massaging the facial muscles.
Using Speech Pathology Lessons at Home
Most importantly, speech pathologists teach parents of autistic children how they can help their kids at home. Learning how to communicate clearly is a full time process that must be continued outside of speech therapy appointments. Thanks to speech pathology, parents can learn how to guide their autistic children through helpful exercises that will address the most challenging speech problems.