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Speech Language Therapy

Cartoon rendering of speech language therapy sessions.

Image by TopVectors via VectorStock

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

This resource, developed by ASERT, provides information about Speech-Language therapy.

What is speech language therapy?

Speech-language therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders. These include difficulty with things such as: producing speech sounds correctly, understanding others, sharing thoughts/ideas/feelings, social use of verbal and nonverbal communication, organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, problem-solving, or feeding and swallowing.

How does speech language therapy help someone with autism?

Individuals with autism can benefit from speech-language therapy since communication deficits are a primary criteria for diagnosis. Challenges with communication ranges from complete lack of spoken language to difficulty with social skills and nonverbal cues. Speech-language therapy begins with an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to assess the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The SLP develops individualized goals to help the individual communicate in more useful and functional ways. Speech-language therapy may involve the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems, which can include sign language, gestures, pictures, videos, written words, or electronic devices. These are sometimes used when individuals have no spoken language or have trouble producing speech sounds correctly.

Goals of speech-language therapy may include:

  • Asking for help
  • Understanding and using gestures to communicate
  • Developing joint attention
  • Following directions
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Playing and getting along with others
  • Taking turns in a conversation
  • Starting or stopping a conversation

How do I find a speech language therapist?

After I receive a prescription from my provider for Speech-Language Therapy, I can:

  • Consult my child’s case manager or supports coordinator
  • Call a Special Needs Unit Seek a referral from your child’s doctor or teacher
  • Connect with other parents through a local support group
  • Use the resource on Finding and Choosing a Therapist for more ideas

References

Speech-Language Pathologists: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

What Treatments are Available for Speech, Language and Motor Issues: Autism Speaks

Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder): American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.