The National Institute of Neurological Disorders defines autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities.
Augmentative Alternative Communication focuses on identifying communication options for persons with communication impairment. The options for AAC range from high-tech, low-tech and/or no-tech solutions. AAC programs are integrated into our speech, occupational and behavioral therapy treatments. We promote social communication using AAC, giving each of our clients a voice to be heard.
Apraxia of speech, also known as verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, is a speech disorder in which an individual has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. It is a motor speech disorder that presents with difficulty coordinating the oral muscles used for speech. It is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles, but rather voluntary coordination. The severity of apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe. The types of interventions provided vary greatly, depending on the needs of each individual we serve.
An individual with an auditory processing disorder presents with difficulty in processing the information they hear in the same way as others. Something adversely affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech. Individuals with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard.
An articulation disorder involves difficulty making sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand the speaker. Articulation therapy focuses on the motor aspects of speech production and the clarity of speech sound production. A phonological process disorder involves patterns of sound errors. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like "k" and "g" and for those in the front of the mouth like "l" and "t" (e.g., saying "tat" for "cat").
Receptive language delay involves difficulties understanding or processing language. Expressive language delay involves difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or the inability to use language in a socially appropriate way. In some cases, a client may present with both expressive and receptive language delay; this is referred to as Mixed Language Delay. We address this by meeting the client where they are and supporting them to develop language systematically.
Comprehensive evaluations can be conducted for Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA and Social Skills. We build a profile of strengths and challenges in the most important areas of development. In our analysis, the relationship between comprehension and use of language, behavioral, and occupational skills integrated into a complete profile to best understand the needs of each individual. This profile reflects a child’s abilities as they compare to age, grade or developmental expectations as well as how their abilities may impact social, academic and daily living skills in everyday life.
Our ABA team may conduct community based interventions with a parent or care giver to assist in many areas of our clients' lives. Being in the community exposes clients to a variety of experiences, enhancing opportunities for natural communication, choice making and participation. The community offers opportunities for problem solving skills that are useful and functional. Augmentative Alternative Communication is incorporated in ways that are natural in context. Repeated visits help clients build success and increase independence.
An executive function disorder describes difficulties associated with goal setting, carrying out organized steps and modifying a plan to complete a task successfully. These skills are important for learning from past experiences and applying the knowledge in new experiences. Attention, memory, impulse control, organization, planning, and hierarchical thinking problems often described by parents and teachers are the executive function. We work on these systematically and then synthesize new skills into functional daily activities.
Pragmatics is the area of language function that embraces the use of language in social contexts (knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it - and how to "be" with other people). Individuals with pragmatic difficulties have great trouble using language socially in ways that are appropriate or typical of children their age. They may interrupt excessively and/or talk irrelevantly or about things the listener shows no interest in. Social Skills are worked on from the basics of turn taking to collaborative gaming and/or constructing.
Thrive Therapy Center is presently looking for highly motivated and energetic speech, OT and ABA therapists desiring to join a new and different therapy center for children and teenagers with autism.