SENSORY INTEGRATION 8
Does sensory integration therapy decrease echolalia in students withautism?
The case of a 15 year old student with autism
Echolalia is a common occurrence in children at the tender age of 2to three years. Children tend to repeat words or phrases, as well assentences that they hear from the adults. Echolalia is a conditionthat makes toddlers and people suffering from autism to repeat soundsthat they have heard before. Echolalia may be immediate or delayed.In immediate echolalia, people with autism tend to repeat what theyhear on the spot. However, delayed echolalia is a condition wherebythe toddler or the student repeats sounds or phrases that he or sheheard before. In this paper, the case of a 15 year old studentsuffering from autism and echolalia is presented and ways to decreaseit discussed. therapy is a process of enhancingthe processing of sensory information through various activities suchas play (Ayres, 2010). therapy is aimed atensuring that patients can process information more easily andrespond appropriately.
In the case of the 15 year old student with autism, it is clear thatshe has difficulties processing information and therefore repeats thewords or phrases from other people. Autism has been defined as adisorder that poses difficulties in speaking or relating with otherpeople. One major character that is associated with autism is therepetitive behavior such as the one being expounded on in this case.Echolalia, as it has been mentioned above, is a condition where onekeeps on repeating words phrases or sentences. The aspect ofimitation is extremely common for people with autism (Dodd, 2014).There are various therapies that are applied by parents andtherapists to reduce the effects of autism. One of these theories isthe sensory integration therapy. It is clear that autism occurs whena person such the 15 year old child in the case fails to processinformation from the various senses. As a result, sensory integrationtherapy seeks to assist or trigger the nervous system to react tosensory information. Research that has been done indicate thatstudent suffering from autism and have echolalia can undergo throughthe sensory integration therapy and have the echolalia reduced.
Autism affects the sensory system and makes it either to under-reactor over-react to certain sensory input (Quill, 2010). Failure toprocess information by the central nervous system is one of thereasons as to why echolalia occurs. The 15 year old student in thiscase repeats words and phrases since he cannot process anyinformation from the senses. therapy will go along way in reducing echolalia in this student. This is because thetherapy will focus on enhancing information processing by thestudent. Various sessions of sensory integration therapy will ensurethat the student starts to improve in terms of comprehension of thesensory information he or she receives (Kranowitz, 2014). When thestudent improves with regards to the sensory information processing,he will be in a position to process the information that he receives.This will ensure that the student will be a position to formulate anappropriate response. Research has indicated that the reason as towhy such a student would fail to respond to certain questions butrather repeat what is being said is because they cannot process theinformation they receive and cannot therefore formulate anappropriate response (Robbins & Pediatric Therapy Network,.2015). It is therefore essential to note that sensory integrationtherapy will reduce echolalia in the 15 year old student.
In order to help the 15 year old student reduce echolalia, it isvital to state that sensory integration therapy focuses on makinginformation from all senses to be processed and interpreted. Forinstance, the therapy will ensure that the sense of touch is enhancedthrough exposing the student to various touching activities. It isessential to state that this form of therapy exposes the patient tothe same activity severally to ensure that he or she responds in theappropriate way (Bogdashina, 2008). This is the same case with thesense of smell where the patient is exposed to a particular smellseverally in a controlled environment. The patient may be rewardedwhen he or she responds appropriately. This encourages the patientsuch as the 15 year old student to respond appropriately toparticular sensory information. It is essential to state that thedevelopment of other information processing other than hearing willlead to an increased processing and interpretation of the hearingsense (Yack & Aquilla, 2012). This will make sure that the 15year old child’s echolalia is reduced significantly. The nervoussystem develops wholesomely and therefore when it starts to processinformation, it will process information from all senses.
therapy occurs mostly when the children areplaying and are engaged in the same activities that they engage in anormal day. This implies that the 15 year old may be treated forecholalia without his knowledge. Considering that this therapyoccurs alongside the play activities, it is clear that it willdefinitely reduce echolalia (Mauro, 2014). Additionally, during theplay time the 15 year old child in the case will have ample time toplay and interact with other children.
As much as this therapy can be said to reduce echolalia in the 15year old student, it is essential to mention that the therapy must beaccompanied with medication for autism. Echolalia is majorcharacteristic of autism and therefore for the therapy to beeffective there must also be some treatment for autism (Hoehn &Baumeister, 2014). Failure to include the treatment for autism willprove the therapy ineffective.
On the other hand there are arguments contrary to the assumptionthat sensory integration therapy reduces echolalia in a 15 year oldstudent with autism. To start with, it is clear that autism is acondition that is genetic and it is extremely difficult to treat.Echolalia, being a major aspect of autism, can only be reduced whenautism is treated. Considering that it is extremely difficult totreat autism, it follows that sensory integration therapy does notreduce echolalia (Hoehn & Baumeister, 2014). As a matter of fact,engaging the 15 year old child with autism to a repetitive activitywill be pleasing to him. This is because autism is characterized byrepetitive behavior. When the child is presented with challengingactivities by the therapist, it is clear that children with autismsuch as the one in this case will withdraw.
Another argument against the idea that sensory integration therapycan reduce echolalia is that this therapy is mainly done during playand the student might not even know that he is being trained for somebehavior. Additionally, most of the people with autism always have aproblem with speech and might not be a position to communicateeffectively. It is therefore extremely difficult for a therapist toengage with a 15 year old who has autism and cannot communicateproperly. Children with autism do not have efficient languagedevelopment and or speech. This brings in a different point regardingecholalia. Echolalia is not always caused by the lack of sensoryintegration or the processing of information in order to give anappropriate response (Horowitz & Röst,2013). Echolalia may sometimes be caused by the failure of languageto develop fully. The degree to which the therapy is said to reduceecholalia is extremely small and the results are insignificant. Thestudent will still repeat words and phrases even after therapy.Autism will greatly contribute to this small decline in echolalia.
In conclusion, it is evident from the research above that echolaliais a common aspect in children with autism. The condition is a clearindication that the student did not have an effective languagedevelopment (Glennen & DeCoste, 2012). Additionally, as it hasbeen stated with the research, echolalia may be brought about by thefailure to respond to various senses such as touch in order give theappropriate feedback. therapy, as it has beendiscussed, ensures that the nervous system can process and interpretinformation from the sense hence provide an appropriate feedback orresponse. Students such as the 15 year old in his case suffer fromautism hence the echolalia. There is a direct link between autism andecholalia. It has been found that autism leads people to doingrepetitive behaviors (Schopler & Mesibov, 2011). This form oftherapy could reduce the occurrence of echolalia on the student.However, there are arguments against this and it is stated that it ishard to treat autism and therefore therapy could not reduceecholalia.
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