Children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum require special attention and care that children without developmental delay usually do not need. These needs range from occupational therapy, behavioural therapy, psychological and sometimes, psychiatric therapy, as well as speech and language therapy. Parents who have read on autism, strive to understand what this disorder is all about. However, for those who are not familiar, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder affecting a child’s social communication skills and also involves display of restricted repetitive behaviour. Each child who is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum may have various needs as well as abilities. Some children with autism are high functioning, meaning they excel well in academics and display less problematic issues, while others may be a bit more severe, requiring special assistance for many daily activities.
It is very common for children with autism to be brought to a speech-language therapist for assistance in social communication. As the urgency and importance of early intervention continues to be understood by many in the field, parents are being highly encouraged to seek treatment as soon as delays and deficits are shown. Not only are parents being told to bring their children in for early intervention, but speech and language pathologists are coaching parents to be involved in fostering language development with their children.
You may ask “What is coaching and how is it done?”. The very first thing to know about parent coaching for speech development is that it is a fairly new approach. In times past, parents had very little interaction and involvement in the work being done with their child by the therapist. Coaching now involves the parent engaging in teletherapy with the speech pathologist to probe various strategies useful in enabling their child to meet intervention targets and goals. In this process, videos of how to interact with their child are given, along with unique instruction for each child’s needs. Observations are done in person periodically to see how the parents is coping, and feedback is always given.
This may sound daunting at first, however if carefully understood, it will become more natural and comfortable.
Sometimes parents are intimidated because they feel it’s a lot to add to their busy every day schedules and implementing strategies is just too much. Vancouver speech therapy recognize the busy lives of parents as they balance work and family care so we create realistic weekly goals for parents to work on. One small step at a time can make a big difference in the long run. A little really does go a long way.
1283 Howe St., Vancouver,
BC, V6Z 1C1.