Speech Therapy for Autistic Spectrum Disorders

The main goals when treating children with autism are to lessen associated deficits and family distress and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child’s needs. Speech therapy and assessment provides a basis for interventions and is indicated for patients with autism. A 2006 study reported benefits both for joint attention intervention and for symbolic play intervention, and a 2007 study found that joint attention intervention is more likely than symbolic play intervention to cause children to engage later in shared interactions. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative and alternative communication. It is typically used as an aid in communication for children with autism and other special needs. The system has been used with a variety of ages including preschoolers, adolescents and adults who have a wide array of communicative, cognitive and physical difficulties. Recent literature reviews have supported PECS as an evidence-based practice. There is no literature suggesting that it is not useful in older individuals or should be restricted to children.

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