How Speech & Occupational Therapy Helps Autistic Kids
For every 35 children you meet in New Jersey, odds say that one child will have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is according to a 2021 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And if you’re a parent to a kid with ASD, providing them speech and pediatric occupational therapy in NJ can help make life better for them.
What is ASD
ASD is an umbrella term for lifelong developmental disabilities that affect how a person communicates and relates to others. People with ASD often have difficulty forming relationships and may experience challenges with social communication and repetitive behaviors.
What is Pediatric Speech Therapy
Speech therapy (ST) is a field that focuses on patients who have communication problems. Those who specialize in pediatric speech therapy are trained to work with children who struggle with verbal speach due to physical disabilities, neurological disorders, developmental delays, or other reasons.
From initial evaluation and creating a personalized plan to implementing that plan, the goal of a speech therapist is to improve someone’s ability to communicate — verbally, non-verbally, and in social settings. Some of the skills required to achieve this objective are:
Strengthening the muscles used in speech
Making clearer speech sounds
Improving facial expression
Responding to questions
This is particularly helpful for autistic kids as they immerse themselves in autism social groups in Morris County. Such social groups are designed to help children with ASD engage with their fellow youngsters and gain a better understanding — not just of body language but of emotions as well. It’s also an environment where they can learn how to initiate conversations and empowered to grow in these endeavors.
What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy refers to the holistic treatment that helps people with disabilities achieve their highest level of function. When you allow your autistic child to attend occupational therapy sessions, you’re allowing them to receive professional guidance on how to do daily activities, you and I may take for granted, more successfully.
Pediatric occupational therapy starts with a proper assessment of a patient’s skills. Patients with ASD, the skills they’re being evaluated for include social, cognitive, sensory, motor, and cognitive skills. A pediatric occupational therapist then crafts and rolls out an individual treatment plan. This plan may include several interventions, such as:
Physical exercises that enhance motor development
Learning activities that focus on sensory integration
Strategies that help foster a patient’s emotional growth
Cognitive behavioral approaches to correct erring behaviors while reinforcing positive ones
Social groups participation to encourage interaction with peers
How These Therapies Can Help Autistic Kids
Occupational and pediatric speech therapy plays a vital role in unlocking the full potential of an autistic child. If your little one is suffering from ASD, enrolling them in these therapy sessions can enhance their overall development.
One of the key contributory factors that make these therapies helpful is the presence of a personalized treatment plan. This plan is made according to your child’s unique needs. But while this plan may comprise various interventions — one thing is a staple: the need for social immersion. It’s an opportunity to put your kid’s skills to the test in a real-life situation while getting authentic support from fellow autistic kids and other people concerned.