Developing Essential Skills With Speech And Art Therapy

Individuals with autism have different challenges in areas such as communication, behaviour, and social skills. They find difficulty in initiating a meaningful conversation and inability to decipher facial expressions. They find difficulty in making friends and understand social cues. Some people with autism may not talk at all, and others may talk very well, at times even knowing what they say.

Children as well as adults with autism have restricted interest and indulge in repetitive action and speech. Some of them can memorize their favourite ad or song which they repeat fluently. They have the tendency to get attached to certain objects or activities and show interest in music or a television show.

Sudden changes in their schedule are something that they react aggressively.

Diagnosing Autism

Diagnosing autism is done by a professional team of doctors, neurologists, speech-language pathologists, and psychologists. An audiologist also does tests to assure that the individual does not have hearing loss.

Most of the individuals with autism face social-communication challenges due to inadequate vocabulary. With speech therapy for autism, the therapists can figure out the best treatment options to ease the challenges and severity of speech/communication disorders.

Treatments For Communication Disorder

Autism cannot be completely cured. Early intervention programs or therapies are preferred for a quick and pleasant result. Through speech therapy for autism, the therapists help to build communication and social skills in sessions conducted in groups or at home or school. Group sessions allow individuals to practice skills together and experience pleasant interaction and bonding.

Role of Speech Therapists

Once autism is diagnosed, speech therapists employ various techniques to improve communication and speech skills. This helps in enhancing the quality of life in individuals with autism.

Some of these techniques include:

  • Apps and electronic ‘talkers’
  • Picture exchange communication systems that use picture cards to help a child learn to communicate
  • Massaging the lips and facial muscles to improve articulation of speech
  • Encouraging the individuals to speak (in shrieks or hoarse voice) in a composed sing-song manner. This helps in releasing the built-in stress

The goals of speech therapy for autism include helping to:

  • Understand and develop both verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Articulate words well
  • Indulge in a two-way conversation
  • Communicate without prompts from others
  • Know where to use words such as please, thank you, good morning and sorry
  • Enjoy playing and interacting

Early identification and intervention during childhood stage, improves the ability to grasp spoken language and learn communication skills.

Art Therapy Treatment For Autism

People with verbal or non-verbal limitations show great skills in other areas. If exposed to the use of artistic media, such as a canvas, paint, pencil, and brush, it helps in building a wide range of skills. They feel more comfortable expressing their feelings and desires more effectively than in a spoken language form. Art therapy for autism offers an opportunity for therapists to build a wide range of skills when working one-on-one with individuals.

Thus, art therapy for autism is a useful tool for helping children release their inbuilt emotions through strokes, lines, and colours.

 What art therapy does for individuals?

Art therapy for autism opens various opportunities for individuals with artistic flair and an opportunity to bond with other participants. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Enhanced imagination power and the capability to think symbolically
  • The ability to recognize facial expressions
  • Improvement in managing sensory issues such as accepting the texture or the stickiness of paints, coping with the scratching sound made by the pencil or brush
  • Improved fine motor skills

Speech and language therapists are qualified people having a specific experience working with individuals with autism. To find a speech therapist near your vicinity online, click here

Author: autismconnectassociation

Autism Connect is a voluntary group based in Mumbai, India formed by parents and professional care-takers of children on the autism spectrum. Parenting and caring for a child with autism is a special responsibility in itself. There are doubts, questions and uncertainties in our minds. At Autism Connect, we endeavor to collect literature on evidence based practices (with special emphasis on newer emerging therapies) in the management of autism and share it with autism associations and organizations across the world with the hope that these associations disseminate and distribute this to their members and parents of children with autism.

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