Speech therapists are often required to teach communication skills to their clients. Commonly, these skills include eye contact, following simple commands, and a variety of other day-to-day tasks. However, this type of therapy is not always effective for nonverbal autistics.
To successfully help a nonverbal person learn these skills, speech therapists use various techniques and activities. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will outline different activities that can be used to teach communication skills.
In the US, nonverbal autism accounts for roughly 2.5% of all cases of autism. In addition to their inability to speak, nonverbal autistics may also have difficulty with social interaction, as well as repetitive behaviors and/or fixations on objects.
Nonverbal autism can be treated with speech therapy activities, which are designed to improve attentiveness, ability to focus on a task, and ability to respond to communication prompts. These can take place in a variety of formats, including games, social interactions with other people or animals, and relaxation exercises such as yoga. Some speech therapy activities can be done at home while others require professional intervention.
When working with individuals on the autism spectrum, it is important to remember that each person has a unique set of skills and challenges. For some individuals who are non-verbal or minimally verbal, providing Speech Therapy Activities can be a great way to get them started toward developing their communication skills.
The first thing to do is to assess the individual’s level of understanding. You want to find out how they process information and if they understand and retain what you say. The easiest way to do this is by using concrete objects like toys or food. Then you want to teach them how to communicate their needs by using visual schedules and pictures for every activity throughout the day. This will help them learn how to communicate their wants and needs in an environment where there are a variety of people interacting with them.
After teaching these skills, there are lots of strategies you can use to practice your child’s new abilities with Speech Therapy Activities. These activities should be fun and engaging, but also include things your child needs help with. Some Speech Therapy Activities that work well are: playing chase and hide-and-seek games; taking walks outside; talking about your day; and reading stories together.
A person with developmental disabilities, such as autism, may have trouble communicating with others verbally. This can make it difficult for them to tell people what they need or want. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) helps these individuals learn the various ways they can communicate with others. They may use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, such as communication boards or computers that speak for them. The SLP also teaches individuals to use gestures, like pointing to objects or pictures, to help their communication partner understand what they are trying to say. The SLP also works on improving language skills, like understanding the meaning of words, so that an individual can better communicate their needs and wants.