What is Speech Therapy?
Here at Opya, we use speech therapy to help children diagnosed with autism better understand and use spoken language in a social context. Speech therapy involves the treatment of speech and communication disorders and is a wide-ranging field. For example, it can help children with stutters or lisps pronounce words correctly.
Speech therapy can help children living with autism develop critical communication skills, improve social interactions, and reduce potential problem behaviors. Speech therapy can dramatically help improve their quality of life by helping children with autism learn to communicate better and interact more effectively with others.
Early intensive autism therapies, such as speech therapy, can help your child’s communication deficits. Children diagnosed with autism may have some of the following challenges:
- Are they non-verbal?
- Do they only communicate via cries, grunts, shrieks, or hums?
- Do they babble and produce word-like sounds?
- Do they have trouble with social interactions and conversational skills (maintaining eye contact and using gestures)?
- Do they have problems understanding social and communication cues and the meaning of phrases?
- Are they unable to understand everyday words’ meanings when used in a new context?
Speech therapy is the most effective way to help improve your child’s communication skills and should begin as early as 18 months of age to have the most significant impact. Speech therapy may give your child the skills necessary to establish relationships, engage in social interactions, and effectively function in everyday life.
Our speech therapists work with children 18 months to 6 years old via telehealth to help them better articulate their words, their speech fluency, and their understanding and use of gestures and facial expressions.
The goals of our program include the following:
- To help your child develop age-appropriate communication skills.
- Teach your child how to use alternative communication methods, such as sign language or picture cards (when appropriate).
- Improving your child’s overall ability to communicate and interact with others can help your child better understand, interpret, and respond to gestures and facial expressions.
- Help reduce problem behaviors that may interfere with your child’s learning and socialization.
These behaviors may result from your child being unable to communicate effectively or feeling understood.
Benefits of Speech Therapy for Children Diagnosed with Autism
Speech therapy is just one part of the multidisciplinary approach we employ here at Opya. There are many measurable benefits, whether speech therapy accompanies other autism therapy solutions or as a stand-alone treatment.
Some of the specific benefits of speech therapy for children diagnosed with autism include the following:
- Improved communication skills – Speech therapy can help develop age-appropriate communication skills.
- Better social skills – Speech therapy can help your child learn how to interact with others more effectively.
- Improved academic performance – Speech therapy can help your child improve their ability to understand and use language, leading to better academic performance.
- Reduced problem behaviors – Speech therapy can help reduce potential problem behaviors that interfere with learning and socialization.
Speech therapy is a valuable tool for helping children diagnosed with autism reach their full potential.
The Importance of Early Intervention
The data is clear: the earlier a child diagnosed with autism begins speech therapy, the better the outcomes. A recent study found that children who received early intervention services (including speech therapy) made significant gains in communication, social, and academic skills. In contrast, children who did not receive early intervention services made significantly less progress in these areas.
Speech therapy can be a valuable part of early intervention, helping children diagnosed with autism develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Get in Touch With Us Today
If your child or a child in your care has been diagnosed with autism, it is important to begin therapy as soon as possible. Opya is here to help. We offer a range of services for children diagnosed with autism, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy, and behavioral therapy.
Our experienced therapists will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your child’s needs. If you are looking for a speech therapy program in Northern California (Greater Sacramento Area, Central Valley, The San Francisco Bay Area) or Southern California (Orange County), contact us today at (650) 931-6300 to learn more about our services.