Speech and Language Therapists work with young people, their families and professionals in order to maximise the potential of speech, language and communication skills. They provide tailor made, integrated therapy, in order to support the inclusion and participation of autistic people using a range of evidence based practices. Interviews, observations and standardised assessments are used to assess individual needs from which targets and intervention plans are set.
A Total Communication approach is employed whereby the correct combination of communication methods for each person is derived to maximise the potential for positive and successful interactions. The methods include nonverbal communication, verbal communication, use of objects of reference, photographs, access to Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC). Therapists can identify preferred methods of communication and recommend where when and how different methods can be used e.g. use of picture exchange, assistive technology or appropriate communication aids . We have experts who can offer training and intervention in Talking Mats, Makaton and Elklan. Therapists use a wide range of additional interventions, some examples include:-
Targets the teaching of attention, communication and social interaction skills using engaging, fun, motivating activities. Group sessions focus on building functional social communication, understanding and spontaneous communication
An evidence based therapy developed by clinical psychologist Daniel LeGoff (2004) which targets social communication skills in young people with Autism using LEGO ® which is often a natural motivator.
Students alternate between three roles, the supplier, engineer and builder with a shared objective of interacting/communicating to achieve the building of a Lego model.
An evidence based approach created by Alison Bryan, which helps the development of language by associating the meaning (semantics) to grammar/sentence structure. Colourful Semantics is structured, visual, colour coded and can be delivered in a multi-sensory approach.
Offers a variety of unique social inclusion experiences and provides opportunities to work on social skills, outside of the usual learning environment, and often within the wider community. Opportunities to work on conversation skills, positive interactions with unfamiliar people, forming and expressing opinions, listening, tolerating and working with others, and generalising skills in new environments.
Social stories and cartoon strips may be used. Both resources help support understanding of social scenarios either in anticipation or on reflection of the social situation.
Social Thinking can be promoted using Superflex a superhero promoting flexible thinking (Michelle Garcia Winner). Supported Conversation- social skills groups may use Transporters to help the teaching of cause and effect of emotions. Groups may targets the teaching of conversation skills including topic maintenance, listening to responses and asking follow up questions. Goals include conversation initiation and topic selection, gaining attention appropriately and repairing breakdowns in communication. ELSA may be part of social inclusion therapy.