Speech therapy, also known as speech-language therapy, is a therapeutic discipline aimed at diagnosing and treating various communication disorders.
These disorders may encompass difficulties in speech production, language comprehension, social communication, and more. Speech therapists, often referred to as speech-language pathologists, work with individuals to improve their ability to express themselves effectively and understand others.
When used correctly, speech therapy can work alongside Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to enhance communication and social development in children with autism.
Many children on the autism spectrum face challenges in speech and language development. Speech therapy interventions can help your autisitc child in two very powerful ways:
- Enhancing Communication
Speech therapists work on enhancing speech articulation, expanding vocabulary, and refining grammar skills, enabling children with autism to express themselves verbally.
- Improving Social Skills
Social interactions can be challenging for children with autism. Speech therapy can help your child understand social cues, engage in conversations, and maintain eye contact, making interactions with others more meaningful.
ABA Therapy vs Speech Therapy
ABA therapy focuses on behavior and social skills, under the guidance of a behavior analyst, while speech therapy addresses communication, under the guidance of a speech therapist. These two therapies can complement each other seamlessly, resulting in holistic development for children with autism. A collaborative approach ensures that children receive comprehensive support, improving their overall quality of life.
Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)
In cases where verbal communication is limited, AAC methods can be invaluable. AAC refers to alternative ways of communicating that go beyond spoken language. Here are some examples:
- Picture Exchange Systems (PECS)– Children use pictures or symbols to convey their needs or desires.
- Communication App– Specialized apps on tablets or smartphones allow non-verbal individuals to communicate by selecting icons or words.
- Sign Language– American Sign Language (ASL) serves as an effective communication method for non-verbal children with autism.
- Communication Boards– These boards contain a grid of images or words that individuals can point to when communicating.
AAC plays a significant role in helping children with autism express themselves appropriately. It provides them with an alternative means of communication, reducing frustration and enhancing their overall communication skills.
At Step Forward ABA we understand the importance of a holistic approach to autism therapy. Our behavior analysts offer custom ABA therapy interventions and collaborate with qualified speech therapists to ensure your child receives comprehensive support in Florida and New Mexico.
Contact us today to chat with a behavior analyst and learn more about the potential of ABA therapy and speech therapy for your child with autism!