What is Autism?

KZN-based Action in Autism shared the following points on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

 

A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder does not mean your child cannot make huge strides with therapy and live a very fulfilled life. There are many treatment options on how to proceed. Some approaches may reduce some of the challenges associated with your child's condition and some focus on embellishing what your child has and increasing their abilities.

 

A Speech Therapist will individualise treatment which can possibly include integrating different types of therapies. Focusing on and enhancing what abilities they have by promoting their self – esteem so they are willing to trust, build self-confidence, and a willingness to interact. The basis for choosing any treatment plan comes from a comprehensive evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses observed in the child. Therapy is important to match your child's potential and specific developmental and/or social and emotional needs with treatments that are likely to be effective in moving him /her closer to established goals and abilities.

 

Child – directed therapies ensures child participation rather than the clinician trying to motivate the child in what they are interested in implementing. They are considered to be "functional" therapies that can be transferable to "real life" situations. Providing the child with the language for what you are doing such as commenting on the toy or action offers a natural language model rather than some of the drill approaches where the product has been described as "robot sounding" language. It's important to meet them at their linguistic level; expanding and adding the next linguistic step from where they are currently (i.e. if a child only says one words, we comment two to three words back in conversation and so on).

 

Intervention may help to increase communication, either non-verbally or optimally verbally, develop play and emotional skills, and increase education levels. Based on the dynamic relationship between social-emotional development, play and cognition, and sensorimotor skills (gross and fine motor skills); a beautiful foundation for your child's developmental communication is formed. The relationships between all of these modalities show how they work together to eventually form language and communication.

 

For further reading in Autism, visit:

www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism/