Speech Therapy is About More Than Just Talking
Ben is an engaging 8 year old boy in grade 2 who in addition to learning his times table, spelling words and how to read, is doing some extra work outside the classroom, he’s developing his communication and social skills with Thien, a Speech Therapist at Gateways Support Services in Geelong.
At first glance it isn’t obvious why Ben needs regular sessions with Thien, as he enthusiastically describes the game of Minecraft zombie chasey that has just taken place in the playground but as he describes the play Ben is looking at the floor and word gaps and unique phrasing begin to emerge. Thien encourages Ben to turn towards her when he’s talking and suggests alternative words and phrasing to clarify what Ben is trying to say.
As Ben and Thien move onto playing a word game it becomes clear that what appeared to be a simple conversation is in fact a guided practice session. Ben has an autism diagnosis and many social, verbal and non-verbal communication skills don’t come naturally to him but he is learning all about them and practicing.
Speech Therapy supports Ben to communicate more clearly and better understand others, lessons which he will take with him as he grows and can help him to more fully enjoy his relationship to others.
Some of the things a Speech Therapist does:
- Play games and activities to teach communication skills
- Modelling communication through practice conversation
- Teach non-verbal communication, such as body language and eye contact
- Explain and model social thinking
- Teach different ways to communicate
- Build vocabulary
- Provide access to alternative assistance technology for communication
- Teach ways to improve swallowing and eating