Speech therapy plays an important role towards the holistic development in a child with autism spectrum disorder. It improves overall communication, enhances social skills, enables to cope up better with the society and function in day-to-day life. It should be started as early as diagnosis is made.
Children with anxiety disorder and neuro-developmental disorders often face speech difficulties. Speech therapy is thus required for children who have speech disorders such as Articulation disorders, Phonological disorders, and/or Fluency disorders.
Articulation disorders: Articulation implies forming clear sounds in speech. In order to make sounds clearly, coordination is required between various parts of the mouth such as lips, teeth, tongue, and palate as well as the respiratory system. If a child has problem with articulation, he may lisp (pronouncing ‘s’ as ‘th’) or may not be able to produce a particular sound at all (such as, the child may not produce ‘r’ sound).
Phonological disorders: Phonology implies organizing different sounds together in patterns to form meaningful words. A child with phonological disorder would use incorrect speech patterns. He may skip the first or last sound in a word. For e.g., the child may pronounce ‘book’ as ‘boo’ when he has no problem in producing the speech sound ‘k’. Therefore, he may pronounce ‘kite’ properly but skip ‘k’ sound in the word ‘book’.
Child may also replace a sound with another, such as pronounce ‘go’ as ‘doe’, hence replacing ‘g’ sound with ‘d’ sound.
Fluency disorders: Fluency refers to the smoothness of speech. It is the ability with which sounds and syllables are put together to form clear speech. Fluency disorder thus refers to any interruption in flow of speech. Stuttering and Cluttering are types of fluency disorders.
Stuttering is a type of disorder which affects the smooth flow of speech. For e.g., repeating the sounds such as b-b-b-ball, sssssorry etc.
Cluttering is another fluency disorder which involves irregular rate of speech due to atypical pauses, excessive use of interjections, repetition of words or phrases etc.
Benefits of Speech Therapy
Speech therapy can offer a wide range of benefits for children experiencing difficulties with communication. Some of the key benefits of speech therapy include:
communication skills, which can enable them to better express their thoughts, feelings, and needs.
Overall, speech therapy can be a highly beneficial intervention for individuals who are experiencing communication challenges, helping them improve their quality of life, relationships, and overall well-being. It is thus integral for holistic development of children.