For many children with autism, the ability of speech and communication varies for every child depending on where they fall on the spectrum, making speech and social therapy and intervention one of the most crucial and utilized treatments.
There are many programs that offer services for individuals with autism. Many of these services often focus on the social and communication therapy. Nicholas Palagonia, a Direct Support Professional, and Home Aid, works for a company that specializes in the care of individuals with disabilities, specifically autism.
“I’ve been doing this for a couple years now, I usually engage to a participants specific goals that the participant needs to follow in order to succeed for the long term and future,” said Palagonia.
Through following protocols, participants are required to stick to their goal sheet, which is created for each individual’s specific needs and capabilities.
“Each participant is administered a goal sheet, and we need to follow each specific goal that is stated and outlined on the sheet and we need to make sure we achieve every goal with the individual at their time pace and capability,” said Palagonia. “The ultimate purpose of achieving each goal set for the individual is for the long term success and independence for the individual. We help and assist our participants to eventually lead a normal and independent life.”
Palagonia went on to discuss current participant’s specific case and what their individual goal sheet is, which is to gain better communication and social skills, all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise.
“We usually will go to the gym, we’ll workout, go swimming, go in the sauna as well as working on communication skills at the same time. So I always try to engage in a conversation with him as well as trying to get him to engage in conversations with the people we come in contact with, whether that be at the gym or a restaurant.”
Not only has Palagonia engaged his participant with communication, socialization, and psychical activity, he has also encouraged writing as a form of supporting communication improvement.
“I try to get him to communicate with me through writing as well. We have a notebook to write down certain things we did throughout each day. Once we end our day, I ask him what it is we did for the day and what his favorite part of that day was and he’ll tell me and that’s when I ask him to write it down in the notebook,” said Palagonia. That’s been usually the best way to better is operational goals and outcome in his situation. Through writing in the notebook, he has been able to improving in his social skills and is now able to have longer conversations with me and others.”
Palagonia went on to further state how he has found this form of therapy to be the most effective for the progress of his participant.
“His progression has been a quick progression actually, which is phenomenal,” said Palagonia. “I stated working with my participant about six months ago and I can say he was not where he was now… He didn’t really talk too much and basically had very limited communication skills, but eventually as time went on we has able to talk to other individuals and keep conversations.”
For more information on communication and social therapies, visit www.autismspeaks.org.