Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bam Bam's Communication: Techniques that we used to help increase speech

I recently received a private message requesting to get more information in regards to what strategies we have used to help with Bam Bam's speech. For those of you that don't know, Bam Bam had a huge speech delay from age 2-5. At three years old, Bam Bam barely spoke. When my child was younger, communication was a contributing factor to why my little guy experienced so many melt downs. He would get easily frustrated because he could not communicate with us.

I am a special education teacher and I have worked with children across the autism spectrum. For some children, communication never occurs despite multiple attempts at intervention. Some children find alternative ways to communicate via communication devices, sign language, or the picture exchange communication system. I knew that when my son was initially diagnosed that there was a real possibility that speech may always be difficult, but I still wanted to do everything in my power to help my child find a way to communicate. For my son, traditional speech ultimately ended up being how my son learned how to communicate.

When my son was diagnosed with autism, he was already in private speech therapy and private occupational therapy once per week. I ended up adding an additional session of private speech therapy and private occupational therapy each week. I also increased my son's schedule at developmental preschool. Before his diagnosis, he was going 2 afternoons per week and after his diagnosis he ended up going 4 afternoons per week. My son received speech therapy at developmental preschool in addition to the private speech therapy that we were paying for on a weekly basis. I also wanted my son to have exposure in a regular preschool so that he could work on social communication. I ended up enrolling him in a private preschool three mornings per week. In addition to everything listed above, we started ABA therapy shortly after my little guy was diagnosed. Bam Bam's therapist attended his general education preschool to help support him in the area of social communication. In the evenings, we used a program called Gemiini to help with speech.

Bam Bam has made a ton of growth in the area of speech. His speech is now in the low average range. He can partake in reciprocal conversation and he is honestly starting to turn into a little chatter box. Social communication is still a struggle and this is now the primary focus during his speech therapy appointments. It has taken a ton of time, effort, and work to get Bam Bam where he is at. Fortunately,  he has had amazing therapists to help support him along the way. I am so proud of my little guy, he is truly the light of my life.


  1. Your son sounds similar to mine. J is now 13. Not only is he on the spectrum and has ADHD, but we are his second adoptive family, so he's got a trauma history on top of his developmental challenges. I came to your blog via your post on The Mighty where you mentioned working on sleep issues this year. I wanted to mention that J really, really liked and used his weighted blanket for a couple of years when sleep was challenging. He said it really helped him feel calm and that the weight made him sleepy. He also has been taking melatonin (1.5 mg about 1-2 hours before bedtime) since he was 8. It really helps, as well. He's made huge strides since coming to live with us and is on the diploma track to graduate in 8 years. He is in two mainstream classes (Science and Social Studies) and does his math and language arts in a supported classroom. We tweak his IEP about twice a year now. The most exciting change was last fall (6th grade--first grade of middle school where we live) when he was finally deemed well enough to forego a constant aide and transition to the regular neighborhood school bus. He also ran cross country in the fall and was on the track and field team in the spring; both of these represent huge social skills gains for my fairly reticent kid who, like yours, had rather extreme speech delays from age 3 on. His home life was so bad after age 6 that he had a couple of years in his previous home where he was, basically "unavailable for learning" and missed opportunities because his mother's mental health challenges meant she was not a good advocate for him and he got no services for several years until she terminated her parental rights. J spent a year in a residential treatment facility for depression and behavioral issues that were a direct result of abandonment, I think. So he's come a tremendously long way in the past three years that he's been ours and I have high hopes for his future.

  2. I am so glad to hear that your son is doing well! It sounds like he is doing amazing in your home. I am so glad that you were able to provide a loving home and the support that he needed. I am so glad that you found my page. Take Care =)