Intraverbal Communication Therapy in Treating Autism

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There are many childhood developmental disorders. From Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to Autism, parents, today, are provided more information regarding cause, origin, symptoms, and treatment than in generations past.

For parents of children with autism, in recent years there has been a substantially greater number of research studies done, providing more information than ever before. While the cause and origin of autism are still highly debated, many healthcare professionals agree the underlying abnormal brain development requires aggressive structured therapy. The use of structured therapy, both inside and outside of the home, provides the autistic child with the necessary skills needed to adapt to daily living and improve communication and social interaction.

Language development is often greatly impaired in children with autism. But, with early diagnosis and language therapy, children with autism are provided the tools to expand and live relatively normal communicative lives. While not only learning to expand their own use of language, children with autism, who engage in language therapy, are also taught how to engage in joint communication, using their own language styles to respond to the language of others.

Joint communication and language therapy for autistic children involves the development of intraverbal skills. Learning to answer questions, ask questions and respond to simple statements is one component of the intraverbal and joint communication therapy.

If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, it is important to ask your child’s therapist about the role of intraverbal language acquisition as part of the early therapy program. Because intraverbal communication is essential to even the simplest of daily communications, teaching a child to respond with, “Please”, “Thank you”, and even “Have a nice day” is important.

How are children with autism taught these intraverbal and joint communication skills? For some therapists, the approach may involve the use of pictures, while for other therapists the success of language therapy may come in the form of a child who can echo the language of the therapist. In determining which of these language therapy aspects to use, the choice will come down to what style of teaching and learning is best for your child and what the therapist is most comfortable in doing in the therapy setting.

As with any complication with communication and language expression, it is important to tackle some of the most simple language impairments in the autistic child. While autistic children generally require many years of speech and language therapy, beginning with early joint communication and intraverbal language acquisition may serve to boost communication outside of the therapy setting, improve your child’s self-esteem and, ultimately, may allow for a more effective language therapy outcome in the long term.

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