Helping Children with Autism Improve Their Communication Skills through Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy for Children with Autism

Helping children speak, communicate and understand language.

Speech Therapy deals with:

  • Delayed and deviant speech
  • Fluency, quality, articulation and pronunciation of speech
  • Rehabilitation of hearing impairment
  • Communication and language impairment
Speech and Language Therapy

Children with developmental disorders such as autistic spectrum disorders may struggle to communicate or  get along with others, and they often find it difficult to socialize and be creative. The main struggles that  autistic children have tend to hinge on communication, interaction and creativity—all of which are vital  aspects of being social. Approximately one third to one half of individuals on the autism spectrum have significant difficulty using  speech and language as an effective means of communication. 

Interpersonal encounters can become overwhelming, perplexing, and unpleasant as a result of these  challenges in speech generation and processing, which are sometimes mistaken as a general disinterest in  social connections. 

Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) perform assessments to help children and adults who have  communication disorders such as speech impairments. Speech and Language Therapists also help people  with swallowing problems take care of their lives on a daily basis by helping them develop plans and  strategies to help not just with the disorder, but encourage long term health too. 

Speech and language therapy helps to improve the quality of life for patients living with communication  difficulties, and those associated with autism or developmental delays. 

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are trained to work on things like reading, listening, speaking, and  language. Also, Speech-language pathologistswork setting includes both private services and special  schools. Depending on what area a child is lacking the skills in, activities are envisioned for the client that  are aimed at helping the individual develop suggested skills in those areas that they have identified as  needing help with. 

Consider the childs communication skills: This is the starting point for speech therapy for autism. The  Speech-language pathologist reviews the childs level of fluency and his or her ability to communicate  without providing excessive prompts to ensure understanding. 

Children with autism have a wide range of skills, abilities and characteristics. Some children may not be able  to develop social skills independently or they may talk about subjects at inappropriate times. Therefore,  speech therapy for autism focuses on age appropriate communication and social skills that rely mostly on the  core communication structures of language - syntax, semantics, discourse and pragmatics. 

Speech therapy for Autism addresses conditions such as: 

  • Aphasia – partial loss of verbal expression 
  • Dyspraxia – understands language, but unable to consistently and correctly pronounce words because of  muscle coordination 
  • Dysprosody – disruptions in speech timing and cadence 
  • Dysarthria – abnormal facial muscle tone 
  • Stuttering, fluency disorders – chronic interruption or repetition in speech 
  • Dysphagia – causes difficulty in swallowing, choking, breathing issues
  • Articulation disorders – adding or omitting required sounds, distorting sounds 
  • Prosodic issues – intonation and rhythm 
  • Phonation disorders – issues with pitch 
  • Resonance disorders – vocal tract issues 

Non-verbal or speech-delayed children are different from other children, but that doesn't mean they don't  have things in common with all kids their age. In fact, by using tools like touch, sounds, and visual cues — any child can communicate through the use of objects just as they would verbally. 

These tools include: 

  • Gestures 
  • Symbols 
  • Signing 
  • Touching 
  • Picture boards 
  • Computer-based aids 
  • Voice synthesizers 


For individuals with autism spectrum disorder, a team of different specialists work together to provide  proper care. This can include doctors, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and any other relevant  specialties that may be required. For instance, some people may need the help of a physical therapist. These  individuals help those diagnosed improve their communication skills and maximize their potential for  success in all aspects of life. 

Speech therapy for autism includes different treatment approaches. The speech therapist will first assess the  patient before creating a personalized treatment plan to get the individual talking. 

For younger children with ASD, treatment may focus on improving speech and language skills. This  involves learning basic communication skills like eye contact or joint attention. Speech therapy for autism  often involves the use of play and interaction as a medium to help the child improve certain areas in their life  that are necessary for effective communication. Parents or caregivers may be highly involved in this process,  helping their child develop the ability to speak more clearly or effectively. 

Studies have shown that speech-therapy for autism can have a positive impact over autism, children with  autism often struggling to communicate and develop proper verbal language skills. In one particular case  study, researchers found that undergoing this treatment led to improvements in the child's ability to speak  

with others by imitating them, repeating words and phrases, as well as using sentences to communicate with  others. 

Starting early is a boon for individuals with ASD because it sets them on the best path for reaching their full  potential. Early detection and intervention pave the way for a brighter future, giving caregivers of such  individuals tools that work in their favor to aid the person diagnosed with ASD over time. As current  research suggests, treatment should start before 18 months of age, though children can be treated as late as 8  years old and will still benefit from care provided, they remain at risk of developing autism. Whatever your  child's age at diagnosis, get them help soon because children with autism who receive intensive early  interventions have remarkable recoveries that make it easy to see why so many people are now pushing for  earlier diagnosis rather than later!


CogniAble is a multispecialty center dealing with the ins and outs of special needs support through various  therapies. We are situated in various states in India. Our team comprises professional clinical and  psychological experts. We provide multi-disciplinary, holistic and customized therapies to our children by  trained professionals. Our Speech and Language therapists work extensively on making clearer speech  sounds, incorporating emotions with the correct facial expression, working on tone of voice, strengthening the muscles in the mouth, jaw and neck as well as using other  tools to help children communicate in the most efficient manner.

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