Speech Therapy

We see students with a variety of speech, language and communication difficulties that may or may not have resulted from their underlying diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay and Intellectual disability. These children first undergo an assessment to identify areas in which they are either not developing at the same level as children their age are, or have significant difficulties that impact their functioning in daily life.

Subsequently, these children attend therapy sessions to work on goals targeted to their varying needs. Some of these goals include:
  • Increasing the child’s understanding and use of different words (e.g. nouns, verbs)

  • Increasing the length and type of sentences the child can produce

  • Increasing the child’s understanding of concepts (e.g. same/different, location)

  • Increasing the child’s functional communication, including using a picture communication system or selected words to communicate using speech or sign

  • Helping the child speak more clearly

There are several ways in which you can support your child’s language and speech development.

Here are some suggested strategies that you can adopt:
Be interested in your child’s interests

Your child will be most motivated to communicate on items, activities or events that capture their interest. Observe your child to see what they show interest in and how they react to it. They may react using sounds, words, gestures or facial expressions. You can respond by imitating them, interpreting what they are trying to say or commenting on what they show interest in. Your child will know that you are interested in what they are seeing and doing, and be more motivated to communicate with you.

Create communication opportunities for your child

You may also engineer opportunities for your child to motivate them to interact and communicate. This involves creating situations in their environment in which they would be motivated to initiate communication. Such situations include:

  • Placing an item that the child likes within sight, but out of reach

  • Introducing toys that are hard to operate, or within a tightly closed box

  • Doing something unexpected (e.g. passing your child something different from what they need)

  • Offer an item in parts (e.g. giving your child juice a little at a time)

  • Offer your child choices by presenting them with a few items

  • Wait and see what your child will do when they need help

  • Stop during a routine or song and observe how your child reacts

Your child may respond to these situations through a variety of non-verbal communication modes (e.g. look at you, make sounds, reach out to an item, or appear excited). You can respond by interpreting their actions and expressions and giving them what they want (e.g. “Do you want the juice? Here you go.”)

Book reading

Read books with your child and talk through them.  You can ask them

  • What they think the story could be about (just by looking at the front cover and title)

  • What they think might happen next in the story

  • To think of another way the story could have ended

  • To tell you how the characters in the story feel and why

  • To tell the story again (without looking at the book) to their siblings

Use of total communication (gestures, pictures, body language)

Your child may have difficulty understanding and using spoken language due to their underlying condition. When speaking to your child, you are encouraged to support your communication with gestures (e.g.  Pointing to objects, key word sign), pictures (e.g. books), and body language (e.g. facial expression, body posture). Your child will have a better understanding of your message when you deliver it both verbally and non-verbally. They may also adopt these means of non-verbal communication to enhance the clarity of their communication.

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