The Role of Speech Therapy in Autism Centers


Children with autism not only have problems with social communication, but can also have behavioral problems. The goal of speech therapy is to improve all aspects of communication, including auditory processing.

Speech therapy sessions vary greatly depending on the child and the therapist. For example, a language learning program called Language for Learning can help teach the mother tongue of children with autism. This program is usually aimed at children aged 10-11 and includes a daily 20-minute session. One study found that after only three months of this type of therapy, children with autism were able to pronounce words well to identify certain things.

Medical Autism Clinic in Alabama

Numerous scientific studies have shown that most forms of speech therapy can improve communication skills in children with autism, and most autism centers offer some form of speech therapy. For example, the Medical Autism Clinic (MAC) in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham was created as a roadmap for parents in diagnosing autism. MAC is looking for specialists in genetics, nutrition, occupational therapy, speech therapy, rehabilitation, sleep disorders and audiology to facilitate the assessment of children with autism. While all of these areas are supported by MAC, special emphasis is placed chronic illness help on nutritional, sensory, motor, sleep, gastrointestinal and nutritional issues. The MAC tries to solve these problems in a complete and reliable way. Parents and their children were referred by their pediatricians to the MAC; first they fill in the questionnaire and then the children are evaluated by the staff of the autism center. With all services under one roof, parents can leave the MAC meeting with a therapy plan and resource list.

Vermont Rural Autism Project

Another model of an autism center can be found in Vermont. The Vermont Rural Autism Project uses family-centered practice in speech therapy and language therapy. Applied family-centered practice is a specific intervention developed in the late 1980s that encourages therapists to involve parents and families in a therapeutic program. Families are encouraged to get involved and work with therapists. The Vermont Rural Autism Project is a 3-year project that began as a family-focused program with specially trained speech therapists. Good cooperation with families can be a challenge for some speech therapists. Some families may be too critical of the therapist and others may not want to help with therapy. However, some therapists and families may connect in special ways that are more beneficial to the child.

Find out more about speech therapy

Autism is a condition covered by the United States Disability Education Act (IDEA) of 2004. The cost of speech therapy is usually covered by the government through this law.

Visit Healing Thresholds to learn more about speech therapy and other autism therapies.

Lara Pullen, PhD, is co-founder and CEO of [http://autism.healingthresholds.com]. Healing Thresholds Autism Therapy is a free website and e-newsletter dedicated to treating the lives of families affected by autism. They provide comprehensive information sheets on therapy, daily updates on research and news in the field of autism therapy, and a worldwide directory of autism therapists and máy nén khí services. A comprehensive information sheet on speech therapy – plus summaries of research, reports and comments – is available at [http://autism.healingthresholds.com/therapy/speech-therapy].

Lara is a former immunology researcher. He has been a medical writer since 1999, writing on many topics from Alzheimer’s to diabetes. She is the mother of three children, the youngest with Prader-Willi syndrome.


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