Regressive Autism Why It Occurs
By Amy KD Tobik
Has your talkative, engaged, and very energetic child suddenly become quiet and uninterested? Does your child exhibit new, unusual habits? Have you noticed speech regression? If you answered yes, then he/she may have whats called regressive autism.
Based on data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , one in every 68 children in the US has autism, including regressive autism. The US federal government spends more than $238 billion a year to help families treat autism.
In this article, we will discuss some facts about regressive autism, its signs and symptoms, and possible treatments. Well also lay out the steps parents can take if they observe these signs in their children.
Ask The Child Questions To Help Learn Proper Sentences
Direct questions such as Why is the bear brown? can encourage proper sentence structure, such as The bear is brown because Questions like these force a child with Autism to think in sentence terms rather than pictures. You can take this exercise further by asking the child to ask you questions, with you responding in complete sentences to show her what you expect.
You could make a game of this by seeing how many questions and answers each of you can ask or answer while still keeping proper format. The prize can be as simple as a sticker on a chart or an encouraging word on a post-it note.
How Are The Speech And Language Problems Of Asd Treated
If a doctor suspects a child has ASD or another developmental disability, he or she usually will refer the child to a variety of specialists, including a speech-language pathologist. This is a health professional trained to treat individuals with voice, speech, and language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the childs ability to communicate, and will design an appropriate treatment program. In addition, the speech-language pathologist might make a referral for a hearing test to make sure the childs hearing is normal.
Teaching children with ASD to improve their communication skills is essential for helping them reach their full potential. There are many different approaches, but the best treatment program begins early, during the preschool years, and is tailored to the childs age and interests. It should address both the childs behavior and communication skills and offer regular reinforcement of positive actions. Most children with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized programs. Parents or primary caregivers, as well as other family members, should be involved in the treatment program so that it becomes part of the childs daily life.
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Speech Therapy For Nonverbal Toddlers
Speech-language pathologists can really help children with their language and speech problems. They will first assess the best way to approach the situation. Here are a couple of techniques used during speech therapy for toddlers:
- Utilizing picture boards
- Exercising facial muscles to improve articulation
- Modulating the tone of voice
- Understanding body language
In speech therapy, the social communication and behaviors of the child are modified.
Caregivers and parents are also included in the process to create an approach best suited for the child. Certain techniques and combinations of them will be used in these sessions.
Free Communication Boards For Autism
One of the hardest parts about autism is that it effects everyone differently, and there is no hard and fast treatment plan. What works for one child may not work for another, and as a parent, it can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming trying to navigate the different options available. The only silver lining is that so many other parents have fought the fight before you, and there are HEAPS of new and innovative ideas floating around the internet.
The collection of communication boards for autism below is an excellent example. With so many free downloads and printables to choose from, getting started with PECS is easier than its ever been, and if youre new to this system, this post by Kori at Home will help get your feet wet!
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Provide Direct And Explicit Phonics Instruction
Direct phonics instruction for reading requires explicitly teaching the 44 consonant and vowel phonemes in a logical sequenced curriculum.
For children with ASD, explicit teaching effectively breaks learning-to-read into manageable chunks.
Current best practice in pedagogical learntoread research supports short, phonicsbased instructional sessions. Reading Eggs explicitly and systematically teaches letters and sounds to build letter recognition and alphabet knowledge. Each letter/sound correspondence is explicitly taught and every lesson can be regularly repeated.
By bringing together explicit, systematic teaching with interactive, engaging activities, Reading Eggs is able to deliver a program that helps unlock reading for children.
Reading Eggs features highly structured, systematic and sequential phonics lessons that support children of all abilities along their reading journey. Free trial
Tips To Help Teach An Autistic Child To Read
You’ve piqued an interest in reading and now you face the challenge of how to help your child with ASD learn to read.
Children with ASD don’t always develop early literacy skills in the same order or along the same timeline as other children. Supporting their skills development requires structure and extra patience, but most importantly an acknowledgement of the incremental improvements, no matter how small.
Using direct instruction, repeating skills and strategies, and acknowledging achievement all help motivate children with ASD to learn to read.
Here are four helpful tips for teaching an autistic child to read:
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Autism And Language Development: Will My Child Ever Speak
A childs first word is a magical milestone. If there is a delay in the commencement of spoken language this milestone may become a minefield of stress for parents. According to research a delay in the onset of spoken language is frequently the most worrying aspect expressed by parents of children with autism spectrum disorders .
In this article, language development of children with autism will be examined. Spoken language delays and subsequent consequences will be investigated with a concentration on relevant research. The success of early intervention strategies and solution-focused approaches to facilitate language acquisition and skills will also be discussed.
How To Teach An Autistic Child To Talk
Although there is no cure for autism, there are therapies and interventions that help the individual to be able to communicate.
It is important to remember that each child is unique. One effort that works with one child may not be helpful for another. In addition, although a child with autism can learn to communicate, this may not alway be through spoken language.
Nonverbal autistic individuals can have and live fulfilling and comfortable lives with the help of therapies and assistance.
Here are some of the treatment options for nonverbal autistic individuals:
Medicine: There is no medicine that will specifically cure autism. However, certain medication could help alleviate related symptoms and conditions. The child could have anxiety or depression, and medication could help with these.
Counselling: Counseling parents and caregivers as well as the siblings of the individual with autism could really benefit from therapy. Through counseling, they can learn how to approach the situation to achieve positive outcomes and to cope with the challenges of nonverbal autism.
Education: Children with autism respond really well to structured sessions. These sessions could help them develop skills and behaviors that will be beneficial in communication. They can gain social and language skills while also getting education and working on their development.
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Dont Insist On Eye Contact
Adults look one another in the eye when they speak. For children with autism, this is a difficult task. Some children learn to look near your eyes through practice, but some never pick up this skill.
Never force a child to look into your eyes. Dont bow down to try to meet the childs eyes, and dont point to your own eyes to make the child follow along. Accept the childs behavior.
Dyslexia And Developmental Dyslexia
Dyslexia and developmental dyslexia are the same conditions. Usually, when someone says dyslexia they are referring to developmental dyslexia, a condition that is inherited. The other type of dyslexia is acquired dyslexia, which means a person became dyslexic due to a brain lesion such as after experiencing a traumatic brain injury or having a stroke.
This can happen with ADHD too. Most people inherit ADHD from a family member, yet a small portion of the population might acquire ADHD symptoms, either prenatally or during development, due to a variety of causes that may damage the brain.
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Try A Graphic Organizer To Help The Child Create Sentences
Graphic organizers are used for different disciplines, such as math, science, and writing. Writing organizers help a child map out a story on a picture. There is a space for the main topic, then areas for supporting details. While these are typically used for story writing, they can also be used for sentence creation.
In the main topic section, you could have the child write in the sentences noun or main topic. The supporting details of the sentence, such as the action the noun took, can be written in the surrounding areas that call for the storys supporting details.
Once the child has the paper filled out, you can show her how to take each part of the sentence and turn it into a grammatically correct sentence. Organizing a sentence in this way works with an Autistic childs picture-like way of thinking, and it can help her in the future when she needs to complete more assignments.
Other Ways To Communicate
While some nonverbal people with autism aren’t able to use spoken language effectively, they may be able to communicate with written language, American sign language, picture cards, or digital communication devices. Once an autistic person can effectively communicate, even without spoken language, their ability to engage in the world expands dramatically.
In recent years, numerous apps have been developed to help nonverbal kids with autism communicate more effectively. One of these is Proloquo2Go, in which users touch images on the screen to express their ideas, and the app speaks for them.
However, it’s important to steer clear of hoaxes that sound too good to be true. In the world of autism, one of these potential pitfalls is “facilitated communication,” in which a therapist “supports” the arm of an autistic person while he or she types.
This approach is still available but has been debunked by numerous studies that show that it is the therapist, and not the autistic person, who is guiding the typing finger.
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What Does The Future Look Like For Nonverbal Children
Nonverbal children with autism could have a comfortable and quality life. It is important that with the right help, they could equip themselves with the necessary skills to live their life normally.
Although nonverbal, children with autism use other methods to communicate. Certain strategies, which we will discuss here, could be used to leverage these methods and add on to them.
Not being able to speak to communicate should not be seen as a setback, but as a challenge that could be overcome. Although there is no magic cure to achieve speech, your child could go a long way with your support.
Once they understand and learn a way to express what they are feeling, be it verbal or nonverbal, they will have a more positive attitude towards communication.
Creating Several Visual Cues
Most children with Autism are visual learners and think in pictures rather than words. If you try to teach a child using words, they might miss the lesson completely. Pictures that teach words and sentence structure can be more effective, complete with direct instruction.
Place pictures of everyday objects on the walls or tables, so children can point to things they want to make a sentence about. Also, create sentence helpers like connecting words on picture cards to help the child learn sentence structure. You can find these in many educational stores or websites.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism
You can often observe signs and symptoms of autism in very young children. But sometimes they are not very noticeable, and they might not be recognized until school age or even adulthood. Signs and symptoms my change as the person gets older, but there will always be challenges with communication, social skills, and behaviors.
Attach Labels To Things And Feelings
Let your child know the names of things and feelings. The best way is to teach him is to keep it subtle, for example, if he is going towards the fridge, tell him that hes doing it because hes hungry or thirsty. This will enable him to learn the names of the things around him, and attach names to different emotions.
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Some Recommended Educational Behavioral And Other Therapies For Children With Autism
Experts have recommended the use of educational and behavioral therapies as possible treatments for autistic kids because of their effectiveness, especially when combined with dietary and medical interventions. The parents, siblings, and caregivers of children with ASD are encouraged to train for these therapies in order for them to apply these treatments themselves. These recommended therapies are:
How To Create An Uncluttered Room
Books, papers, toys, and other items that most children can ignore is overwhelming to an Autistic child. If you are a teacher and are responsible for a child with Autism, you may want to create a space in your classroom that is sectioned off from the rest of the room where the child can work. Take all the extra books, toys, and papers away from the area. Only have those things that are conducive to learning.
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How To Calm A Child With Autism
There are certain calming do’s and don’ts that apply to most children with autism. These are based on the factors that autistic children have in common, specifically:
- Difficulty with understanding social norms and conventions
- Difficulty with following or using non-verbal communication
- Unawareness of others’ likely reactions to behaviors
- Sensory challenges that can get in the way of positive behaviors
- Lack of social motivation
Create The Optimal Learning Space For Each Child
Sensory overload is one of the main things that make learning more difficult for Autistic children. If there is too much going on in the classroom, the child can break down, throw a tantrum, and stop learning processes. The room where you teach an Autistic child how to write sentences needs to be calm, uncluttered, with the lights lower than usual.
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Art Supplies Can Help Your Child Learn How To Write Sentences
Because Autistic children think in pictures rather than words, buying some art supplies might help them learn how to write sentences. Construction paper, crayons or markers, or fingerpaints can encourage them to create pictures of what they want to write about. Choose materials that the child will enjoy the texture of, as she may not respond well to some textures.
How Does Autism Affect A Childs Language Development
Babies start to absorb language as soon as they are born, mainly through interaction with parents and caregivers. However, autistic children, who are not thought to be motivated by social interaction, may not seek out opportunities to interact and may not develop language skills in the way that typically developing children do.
A neurotypical child will usually engage in canonical babbling by 10 months. A study by Oller et al. suggests the late onset of canonical babbling as an early marker of abnormal development.
Children with autism also seem to prefer non-speech sounds to speech sounds . Their preference for non-speech stimuli and their lack in motivation to engage socially with caregivers may deprive them of chances to develop language and speech skills.
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Early Diagnosis Of Autism More Likely To Lose Label
Researchers may not be able to point out what exactly causes a lost diagnosis in each case, but many point out that the children who are diagnosed and treated early tend to improve the most.
According to Dr. Wiggins, the kids diagnosed with ASD at 30 months or younger were more likely to have a change in classification from ASD to non-ASD than children diagnosed with an ASD at 31 months or older.
So, early diagnosis of Autism is very important for better treatment. Under the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, your childs pediatric specialist should perform regular developmental surveillance at well-child visits, with screenings at 9, 18, and 30 months, and also screenings for autism at the 18-month and 24-month check-ups.
Use Simple Conversation To Encourage Your Child To Write
Before a child ever learns how to write, they must know how to speak in proper sentences. The best model a child has for learning a language is their parents. As a parent, you have a natural need to talk with your children, even if they can not respond. You need to speak in complete sentences with your child as much as possible from birth, even if you dont think they understand you.
Children pick up on their native language very quickly, so a child whose parents talk with them in complete sentences will be more likely to pick up writing sentences a bit easier. When youre working with your child to write sentences, have a conversation with them, as it will reinforce your teaching.
However, if youre a teacher or another person with a vested interest in the child learning to write sentences and struggling with basic conversation structure, begin with simple conversations. As youre having a conversation with the child, write down what you say. Then write down what the child says.
What this exercise does is it shows the child that sentences are as comfortable as talking with another person. When they see that written sentences are similar to, or the same as, spoken sentences, they will be able to write sentences better.
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