Speech therapy activities for low functioning autism are designed to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) increase their speech and communication skills through systematic instruction. Low functioning autism is characterized by a deficit in social interaction, communication, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.
This type of therapy is usually conducted by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or an occupational therapist (OT). The therapy may be provided to the individual with autism in a pre-school or school setting, or in an outpatient or inpatient setting. It can also be provided at a patient’s home. In addition to teaching the child how to speak, this behavioral method uses a variety of techniques including imitation and positive reinforcement.
There are two types of speech therapy activities for low functioning autism that an SLP may utilize: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT). ABA is based on the principles of functional analysis and positive reinforcement. It involves having the patient repeat words that the SLP says aloud and then having him/her practice speaking on his/her own. It also requires teaching appropriate responses to various stimuli. DTT focuses on learning new skills by breaking them down into steps that are easier to manage.
This is a general overview of therapy and games that can help children with low-functioning autism. Keep in mind that each child will have a different therapy plan based on their needs and abilities.
Stimming is a form of self-stimulation and should be encouraged in low-functioning children with autism. Some parents may try to reduce or eliminate stimming, but the behavior is very important for these children. Children with low functioning autism often need more one-on-one attention, so it’s important for them to feel secure in order to succeed in therapy. When you are working with these children, remember to stay calm even if they are acting out because they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Help your child develop communication skills by using visual supports as much as possible. For example, give them pictures rather than trying to explain something verbally. If you are working on turn taking, use a visual schedule board with pictures of what they will do next (go outside, eat lunch, play outside). If you are working on following directions, use pictures or symbols instead of words such as “please” or “thank you.”
The speech therapy activities below are appropriate for low-functioning autism. These activities can be used in speech therapy sessions or at home to help improve communication skills in a variety of ways.
Speech therapists work with autistic children by creating activities that are meant to improve their communication skills, reduce aggressive behaviors, facilitate social interactions, and improve overall quality of life. This type of therapy may also include teaching alternative methods for communicating in place of verbal communication. These methods can include using computers or other electronics that can assist in developing speech. Speech therapists might offer classes where family members are trained on how to interact with the child in ways that encourage them to communicate and participate in daily activities. Activities can include anything from playing games to reading books together. These activities will help to increase your child’s vocabulary and speech development.
The activities, games, and tools in this article are appropriate for all individuals with autism in a speech therapy setting. They can be adjusted to the individual level of functioning and age group.