Thanks so much for visiting my page about autism. Scroll down to view all of the links to my content about autism and communication. Or, feel free to take your time and read through all of the information about autism below.
What is Autism?
Autism, also called Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a diagnosis that describes a group of children a common cluster of symptoms, though the degree of severity for each of those symptoms varies widely from child to child. These symptoms include problems with social interactions and social communication. They also often include repetitive behaviors and sensory concerns. Other symptoms can be associated with autism but the social and communication impacts are the primary feature.
What Causes Autism?
Here is an explanation of the currently known causes of autism according to Autism Speaks:
“First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.”
Warning Signs of Autism
According to Autism Speaks, you should ask your child’s doctor about autism if you are concerned about any of these issues:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
Speech Therapy for Autism
To begin this section, let me first point out that a child is not defined by his diagnosis. If you walked into my clinic and said “my child is autistic”, I would not automatically know what therapy to do or what problems to cure. Each child with autism is different and needs to be treated that way. Although there are some therapies that have been found to be more or less effective for children with autism, each child’s specific needs will be different. A licensed speech-language pathologist should be consulted to determine which types of therapies are best for each individual child and which speech and language problems should be addressed first.
In short, treat the child, not the disorder.
However, that being said, there are many speech and language problems that are common among children with autism. A few of these problems are listed below with links to information that may be helpful. Keep in mind that this is simply one approach and that the approach listed may not be the most effective for every child on the spectrum. But they will provide a starting point and a therapy option for each skill listed below.
Using Video Modeling for Children with Autism
Some children with autism have difficulty learning new skills or new routines. Video modeling is a great way to teach children these new skills by having them watch a video of themselves doing the actions. Click the link to learn more about video modeling:
Speech/Language Problems and Suggested Activities:
Early Social Skills/Communication Skills
Advanced Language Skills
Speech And Language Therapy Guide: Step-By-Step Speech Therapy Activities to Teach Speech and Language Skills At Home or In Therapy
Challenging Behaviors and Autism
Many children with autism have challenging behaviors. These behaviors can be caused by a number of sources, including frustration over not being able to communicate, sensory issues, and lack of understanding of what’s going on around the child. Here are a few links that will help you deal with those unwanted behaviors in your child with autism:
How to Deal with Challenging Behaviors: An actionable guide on how to extinguish challenging behaviors
How to Respond to Teasing and Bullying:
Printable Materials for Autism Therapy
- Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. You can help support autism research and causes with your purchase at their Autism Store!
- Autism Support Now: This website is managed by Ella’s Hope for Autism, a non-profit for Autism in Missouri that was started by a lady from my hometown! Her daughter has autism and she has been an inspiring beacon of light for other families of children with autism. This website offers free autism advice and insight for parents with children on the spectrum.
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