A child locked in the darkness of autism or the physical challenges associated with cerebral palsy presents many challenges for the family unit. In an attempt to express their feelings, children with autism or CP may become aggressive and sometimes cause injury to themselves. But there is both light and hope at the end of this dark tunnel, as researchers have found that better behavior can result from an improvement in communication skills.
The ability to communicate helps to build a larger vocabulary, which in turn establishes an important foundation for literacy. Little is known about what causes autism, and each child is unique. As such, language difficulties will not be an obstacle for every child, but it is with many children who suffer from this malady. Speaking with others becomes a very difficult endeavor and there is often a struggle with both understanding the meaning of words and knowing how to respond to the words of others.
Being unable to communicate leads to feelings of frustration, which can manifest themselves as vocal outbursts and/or tantrums. The first step in learning how to help these children express themselves is to enlist the aid of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Training offers many benefits and tools, some of which include the improvement of eye contact, the use of gestures and/or a picture board or speech generating device.
We need to give our children the tools they need to succeed in this world. They are counting on us and for those locked behind the door of silence, now there is a key brimming with the promise of hope and help.