Since I recently completed the Hanen-More than Words Program for Children with Autism, I have decided to do a review of the course and discuss some of the therapy options available for children with ASD. The More than words Program is designed for children aged 5 and under with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program provides parents with the tools, strategies and support they need to help their child reach their full communication potential. One very informative component of the More than Words Program was that it begins with background information about the latest research into ASD and changes to the diagnosis according to the DSM-5.
Key changes to the ASD Diagnosis in the DSM-5:
- One diagnosis of ASD rated on severity instead of separated diagnoses for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
- 2 criterion areas for diagnosis including Social communication/Interaction and Restricted/repetitive behaviours instead of the previous 3 areas (Interaction and Communication were previously separate areas)
- Inclusion of Sensory Processing Differences in the diagnosis
What are the Different therapy types?
The More than words Program also gave an overview of the different types of therapy available for children with ASD. There are 4 main types of therapies available that fall on a continuum as shown below.
Discrete Trial Training and Applied behavioural Analysis (ABA) therapy, which many parents are familiar with, fall towards the left end of the continuum as they are very structured types of therapy. DIR Floortime therapy falls on the opposite end of the spectrum as therapy is often unstructured and follows the child’s lead. The type of therapy chosen ultimately depends on what suits the individual and your preference as a parent. There are a number of reasons why I chose the Hanen-More than words program. The most important being the amount of evidence supporting the program given that is a relatively new form of therapy and the style of therapy which falls in the middle ground of the continuum. This is because Hanen incorporates the successful aspects of structured therapy and the advantages of following the child’s lead within activities.
What does the More Than Words Program Consist of?
The More than Words Program itself incorporates a range of activities that cater for children at different language levels, from non-verbal to sentences users as well as different parent/adult learning styles. The Program itself consists of the following components:
- A pre-program consultation for you and your child with a Hanen Certified Speech Pathologist
- 8 personalised training sessions
- Three individual sessions for you and your child with your speech pathologist in which you are videotaped while practicing with your child. After which you will review the Video-feedback one-on-one with your Speech Pathologist to identify the successful components of therapy and strategies to implement in the future.
For more information on this topic or any speech related fields, contact the ENT Clinic on 1300 123 368 and make an appointment with our speech pathologists Ashleigh Fattah or Jenna Butterworth.
About Ashleigh Fattah
Ashleigh Fattah is a Speech Pathologist who sees both children and adults. She has experience from a Master of Speech and Language Pathology degree and a spectrum of clinical environments including private practice, inpatient and outpatient hospitals, school and community based practice.
Ashleigh is committed to providing evidence-based interventions for children and adults alike, tailoring therapy to each client’s individual needs. Her clinical experience enables her to provide comprehensive one-on-one, group and school program interventions. Ashleigh is trained in providing an array of up-to-date therapy techniques such as the PROMPT therapy and Hanen Programs to help both children and adults achieve their goals.