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Speech therapy can help children with speech delays or other communication challenges. Specifically for children with autism, speech therapy can enhance both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Therapy begins with an assessment by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to evaluate the child’s strengths and needs. From there, the SLP develops goals for each session.

Common goals may include:

  • Asking and answering questions. An SLP can work with a child with autism on recognizing questions, how to respond, and how to formulate, ask, and understand their own questions.
  • Reading and interpreting body language. For children with autism, the subtle cues and signals of body language may be challenging to understand. An SLP can help them with reading an emotion being exhibited.
  • Using correct grammar. SLPs work with children to use correct grammar, like referring to oneself in the first, rather than third, person or using the right verb tenses.
  • Modulating tone of voice. Children with autism sometimes have what is known as “flat prosody,” which refers to the way the voice moves up and down during speech. An SLP can help build up the child’s vocal skills to have a more expressive range of tone and inflection.
  • Developing conversational skills. Expressing emotions through statements and asking questions is not the same as carrying a conversation so SLPs may work on teaching a back-and-forth flow, which is also known as “joint attention.”

In some cases, children with autism may find that using pictures or technology is a more effective method of communication than verbal communication. SLPs call this Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). With the child and family, an SLP helps determine which kind of AAC is right for each child and teaches them how to use the selected method. Examples of AAC include sign language, a speech app on an iPad to learn correct pronunciation, or the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). This system is a way for people with autism to communicate without speech. Instead, they use cards with pictures and symbols to explain their thoughts and needs.

    We are excited that you’re interested in learning more about what we do. Feel free to contact us via email, phone, chat, or fill out an intake form to get the process started. We look forward to hearing from you!

    As with all therapy for children with autism, the individual child’s needs, goals, and circumstances are paramount. Learn about Inner Circle Autism Network’s child-centered speech therapy services here.