Children with autism all have delays in their ability to communicate, but as with all symptoms these delays vary. These symptoms can range in severity from the inability to produce language without specific ABA language programs to the late onset of speech without treatment from 2 to 4 years of age. It is incredibly important if your child is not using language, or has limited language to get an autism screening as early as possible.
ABA therapy is the best treatment for communication deficits for children with autism. The reason for this is ABA therapists assess WHY language is not occurring and create a tailored treatment plan to increase communication. Speech therapy is affective for understanding HOW language works and should be used in conjunction with ABA therapy. Until a family has worked intensively with an ABA team and speech therapy they should not rule out their child’s ability to speak.
There are different ways that people with autism use to communicate, including but not limited to:
- Exchanging pictures to request items
- Using speech devices
- Single words
- Multiple words
- Full sentences
ABA therapy will find the most effective way for their clients to communicate now while building up more complex language skills. A comprehensive ABA team will ensure that your child has programs to occasion repeating speech, requesting items, labeling items, and back and forth speech. If your child has not had a test for their receptive language knowledge this should be done before expressive language is programmed for. Receptive language is the number of words/phrases that your child understands while expressive language is what they say.