Speech and language therapists provide treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication. They also provide treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties eating, drinking and swallowing.
Speech and language therapists may use a wide range of different interventions, techniques and tools. For example they may create games which help individuals to communicate more effectively with other people or they may teach non-verbal children how to communicate using electronic devices or manual signing systems.
Speech and language therapists usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team with other health care/education providers (such as occupational therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, teachers and parents) to provide a package of care designed to meet the needs of the individual.
The evidence base for the different interventions, techniques and tools used by speech and language therapists varies enormously. For example, there is some high quality evidence to suggest that the Picture Exchange Communication System may help some autistic children who have limited verbal skills. However there is currently insufficient evidence to determine if sign language helps the same children to communicate more effectively. Because of this, we do not believe it is possible to provide a ranking for speech and language therapy as a whole.
However we believe that speech and language therapy may help some autistic individuals, especially when it is provided as one element of a combined, multi-component programme delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, and when that multi-component programme is personalised to the needs of the individual.
Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions