Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Treatment & Courses
Finding out your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a stressful experience for both parents and the whole family. Navigating the variety of diagnostic terms, therapy and service options can be overwhelming and confusing.
As a parent, you want the best for your child, but often it’s hard to know where to start.
Speech Therapy Centres of Canada understands the difficulties and challenges parents of children with ASD face. We are here to help you navigate the waters.
Our goal, simply put, is to be there for you, and to help you find your way throughout the diagnosis and therapeutic process. More simply put, we treat the whole child and the whole family.
How do we do this?
- We treat every single child as an individual with unique needs. From the first assessment to the location of therapy, every step is centred around YOUR family and YOUR child’s needs
- We’re not a one-size fits all centre and we use a variety of assessment methods to ensure a personalized program.
- We provide support and expertise from a variety of clinicians, including speech-language pathologists, psychologist’s, ABA therapists, and behavioural therapists.
- We make it easy for you and your busy schedules. Daytime, evening and weekend services are available In-home or at one of our convenient clinics.
- Our therapists are warm and caring, and truly love working with children. They understand the needs of your family, and endeavour to incorporate those who have the most interaction with your child into the therapy process (primary care givers, teachers, family members, friends).
- We provide our therapists with on-going training and support. Unlike at a sole practitioner office, your child will benefit from our collaborative team environment where your therapist can draw on the experience of our team.
- We treat children of all ages, adolescents and adults with ALL levels of difficulty.
What happens after you call?
- One of our of our knowledgeable intake coordinators provide you with information, answer your questions, and schedule an assessment appointment
- Your child will attend an assessment appointment with one of our speech-language pathologists.
- After your assessment the S-LP will:
- Develop specific goals for you and your child based on test scores and informal observation
- Recommend specific therapies related to achieving those goals
- Therapy will begin
- A first report is submitted three weeks after the assessment
Wondering how a speech-language pathologist can help your child who is diagnosed with ASD or who may have some signs of ASD?
- S-LP’s are usually the first intervention therapists for a child who is non-verbal or who has communication difficulties
- S-LP’s provide information to the team which may include psychologists, occupational therapists and ABA therapists
- S-LP’s support functional communication not just talking- we can help you recognize the little signs to watch for that indicate that your child is communicating e.g. what does pointing or eye contact mean when your child is non-verbal
- S-LP’s assist with the diagnosis process, and assess your child in order to obtain detailed knowledge of language and speech level. This assessment provides a starting point for where to go next.
- S-LP’s work on the subtle social communication skills that will help your child make friends
What kinds of services do we offer to families with children?
- Individual assessments and therapy
- Parent and caregiver workshops and support groups
- Group therapy for social communication, early literacy and parent education
What kinds of strategies and therapies do we use at Speech Therapy Centres of Canada?
- Techniques to promote speech & language development
- Social communication therapy
- Picture Communication Systems( PECS)
- Parent education and training
- The PROMPT Approach for oral-motor issues
- Video Modelling
- ABA / IBI therapy
Financial Considerations for Therapy
Providing therapy to your child can be expensive. As part of our whole family approach, we work with you to make therapy happen for your child. We accept extended health benefits and credit cards, and offer alternative payment opportunities such as financing. In addition, we can connect you with independent organizations that may be able to provide you with monetary support.
Please don’t hesitate to ask our intake coordinator for assistance in this area.
Some helpful links, if you’d like to do your own research:
Autism and a Speech Language Pathologist
As Claudia Correia, one of our speech-language pathologists (S-LP’s), prepares for her therapy session with Jonny*,who is 3 years old who and has been diagnosed with ASD, she catches sight of him sitting in the waiting room trying to connect with the other children. Claudia has been working on improving Jonny’s attention and interest in others, including social smiling and using gestures and words to connect with others.
Claudia (and Jonny’s mom) are so pleased as they know that this is the beginning of him connecting with others and being social.
Why is it that social communication is such an important skill for an S-LP to evaluate and why should your child with autism see an S-LP?
Here are some answers:
- Language is the a “major currency in social skill development.” S-LP’s assess language and the USE of language which may include
- Greeting ( “hello”, “goodbye” or waving)
- Informing ( “I am going to get a candy.”)
- Demanding (“Give me a book”)
- Requesting. “Can I have a book?”
- Typically developing children have an innate ability for social use of language as described above. Children with ASD or social communication issues need specific instruction to USE skills to interact.(2)
- The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) position statement notes that “speech-language pathologists play a critical role in screening, diagnosing and enhancing social communication development and quality of life of children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).”(1)
They add that “the core features of ASD include impairments in:
- Reciprocal social interaction
- Impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication
- Restricted range of interests and activities
due to neurobiological factors.”(1)
These challenges affect
- Joint attention
- Shared enjoyment
- Social reciprocity in nonverbal as well as verbal interactions
- Mutually satisfying play and peer interactions……(1)
- Early detection of children who have speech, language and social communication difficulties result in better long-term outcomes.
- S-LP’s, through screening, assessment and treatment, have the necessary knowledge and skill to assess diagnose and treat the social communication issues that frequently occur with the diagnosis of ASD
- In older children, the social communication issues may not be as obvious , especially if the child has basic and sometimes even advanced language skills. In these instances, social communication issues may be more subtle. The S-LP has the necessary skills to assess how a child or adolescent communicates socially. Some examples of what could be examined in detail may be how a person:
- Initiates conversation
- Maintains conversation beyond one turn
- Gives compliments
- Is aware of the other persons feelings
- Is aware of the nuances of conversation e.g. humour, sarcasm, inferences etc.
The above aspects outline the very important role of the S-LP in assessment and treatment for social communication.
*Please note that the above description of Jonny is taken from a compilation of many clients for information purposes.
- American Speech and Hearing Association (2006) Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Life Span (Position Statement). www.asha.org/policy
- Kuperman, P. (2008) The Source for Intervention In Autism Spectrum Disorders. USA: Linguisystems Inc.
Blog Posts on Autism:
- Autism and Motivation: Using Restricted Interests
- Sibling Rivalry in Families of Children with Autism and ASD
- What is High Functioning Autism?