A speech language pathologist, at Swabodhini, administrates an extensive assessment of the student’s ability to communicate. Based on the findings a plan is formulated and subsequently the training is administrated. The aim of the therapy is to improve the communicating skills of the individual.
There are 3 methods by which the student may communicate, depending on each individual’s goals:
- Some may be in need of learning on how to verbally communicate
- Others may require to be taught gestures to communicate their wants and asks
- Yet others may require to be taught on how to communicate using the symbol system on picture boards
Periodic evaluations are done to assess the best approaches and to re-establish new goals for each student.
Simultaneously, the therapist also works with the student to reduce unwanted behavior that could interfere with the development of the communication skills. Speech therapy is not just about learning how to pronounce words. It involves a whole lot of skills, such as:
- Non-verbal communication
- Speech pragmatics
- Conversation skills
- Concept skills
The traditional concept of insisting on mastery of the formal properties of a language, will not apply in the case of a child with signs of autism. Apart from learning how to speak, they also need to learn how to use the language in a social environment. Consequently, this involves several aspects of communicating skills, such as, conducting a conversation, thinking about the reciprocal understanding and belief of the other person in the conversation, and concurrently observing the meta-linguistic signals of the other person, such as the tone of voice, facial expression and body language. It is important to never forget that an autistic child has great difficulty in understanding non-verbal language. Consequently, at Swabodhini, all these aspects are taken into consideration while drawing up a plan for each child, which produces the best outcome.