Learning to Self Regulate: Speech Therapy for Aspergers Syndrome

Learning to Self Regulate: Speech Therapy for Aspergers Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome is presently considered to be under the umbrella of all types of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. Those with Asperger syndrome used to be referred to as people with “high-functioning autism”, but that phrasing has been swapped out. This doesn’t mean that people with this syndrome don’t encounter unique challenges and difficulties. Asperger’s syndrome therapy and treatment can help those who have it manage some of the more complicated parts of their disorder. These include speech and communication. If you or a family member have Asperger’s syndrome and you’re seeking speech therapy, you’re in the right place to learn. Keep reading to learn more about how speech therapy can help people with Asperger’s and other kinds of ASD learn to manage their conditions.

How Does Asperger’s Syndrome Impact Speech?

As we mentioned, Asperger’s syndrome is currently considered a type of autism spectrum disorder. Asperger’s is considered “high functioning”. The challenges that someone with Asperger’s syndrome faces is going to be different from others with ASD. Many people on the autism spectrum are nonverbal or they have difficulty forming words. They may have a hard time understanding simple spoken language. They may need to learn sign language. ASD can create many issues with communication. Asperger’s syndrome, however, is different. This type of ASD has fewer communication hurdles, though they are still present. People with this condition may have trouble with literal vs figurative speech. They may not handle sarcasm well, and figures of speech can be confusing. Their speech patterns are also often different, making them confusing for their peers. They may have different modulations in tone and voice than someone without ASD. They may also find it challenging to start new conversations or enter into a conversation that’s already happening. These issues are largely related to difficulty perceiving social cues.

How Can Speech Therapy Help? 

Speech therapy for those with this kind of ASD might function differently than speech therapy for other types. The speech is already developed, it’s just different. More of the work is done on communication. Online speech therapy is going to focus more on emotions and self-regulation than the typical “speech therapy” that comes to mind. There are issues unique to “high-functioning autism” and Asperger’s syndrome that can benefit from speech therapy.

Coping Mechanisms for Emotional Regulation

Coping mechanisms are an important part of any speech class for those with Asperger’s syndrome. Many people aren’t provided the appropriate skills to manage their emotions. Parents aren’t given a guidebook to teach these skills. People don’t grow up with them pre-installed. Speech therapy can help teach people on the spectrum strategies and tools that can help with that emotional regulation.

Calming Skills

Some of these coping mechanisms are going to be calming skills. Calming skills are important for “bad” emotions. These emotions are going to be the ones that most get in the way of productive communication amongst peers. While this isn’t a traditional speech therapy area, it’s an important one. Learning to stay calm in stressful situations is a key part of communicating.

An Explanation of Feelings

Some people with Asperger’s syndrome may struggle with big and small feelings. They may need help understanding their place in communication. It’s important for a good speech program to help people on the autism spectrum understand that their feelings are normal. This is true even though the classes are focusing on regulating and controlling them. No class should imply that the feelings are in any way “wrong”. The feelings are things that need to be lived with and managed in order to have a healthy social life.

Social Communication Skills

Some skills that those with Asperger’s syndrome need are social. Social group skills can be helpful even when they’re being handled online. It’s important for those with ASD to understand their emotions. It’s also important to teach those on the spectrum how to understand the emotions of others. They also need to learn how to be a friend to others through healthy communication and general good etiquette. They should understand things like bullying and peer pressure and how to manage these situations in a real-life context.

Conversational Skills

Conversational skills are an important subgroup of social communication skills. These can help people with Asperger’s syndrome communicate more easily in groups. These skills might help the learner modulate their speech more effectively. This helps them communicate smoothly with peers. They can help the learner enter and sustain conversations with less anxiety. When successful, speech therapy also helps those with Asperger’s syndrome understand and apply less literal forms of speech. While they may never fully adapt to these, they can navigate them. The therapy might teach the learner about how to interpret kinds of speech that might otherwise be confusing. These include idioms, sarcasm, and figures of speech. Conversational skills can also discuss politeness. When is it appropriate to speak when in a group situation? How do you handle difficult conversations and interactions, and when is it okay to leave to self-regulate? These are skills that many people have “built-in” but those on the spectrum need some extra help.

Asperger’s Syndrome Can Be Aided by Speech Therapy

Speech therapy can help people with Asperger’s syndrome. While those with this condition are verbal and have an easier time communicating than others with ASD, they still have some difficulties in crucial areas of interpersonal communication. If your child has communication difficulties, don’t rule out speech therapy just because it doesn’t seem right. Online speech therapy is good for all different kinds of learners and patients, and “speech” isn’t just verbal. Learning communication skills is just as important. For more information on how to help your loved one through speech therapy, visit our site.