Learning Difficulties Treatment Options
As the types of learning difficulties are so varied, each child's range of skills is reviewed post-assessment, and the treatment options are tailored on a case by case basis.
Speech & Language Pathology
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech disorders occur when a person/child has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance. Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
Cognitive-communication disorders include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.
As it is common for a child with Autism to suffer from one of the related conditions mentioned above, adding SLP sessions as an auxiliary service to a home or school program is often recommended.
Cognizium is an exclusive program to Hopetree Clinic. The program consists of two key components in-centre 1:1 training and a supervised digital program. Each activity is specifically designed to work on, and develop a key learning ares such as memory, processing speed, problem solving, and attention. The pace and difficulty of the program is determined by the child's ability and the combination of positive behaviour support strategies and focused skill training, makes this program an excellent choice for parents looking for an impactful program.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
OT is a treatment that works to improve fine and gross motor skills and motor planning. It can also help children who struggle with self-regulation and sensory processing.
The therapy is tailored to a child’s specific needs. Before it begins, the occupational therapist (OT) looks at your child’s strengths and challenges, and the tasks that child has trouble with. The OT will then create a program of activities for the child to work on.
Here are examples of the tasks and skills OTs might focus on:
Self-care routines like getting dressed (fine motor skills and motor planning)
Writing and copying notes (fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination)
Holding and controlling a pencil, using scissors (fine motor skills, motor planning)
Throwing and catching (gross motor skills like balance and coordination)
Organising a backpack (motor planning, organization skills)
Reacting to sensory input (self-regulation skills)
OT consists of exercises and activities to build specific skills that are weak. For example, if a child has very messy handwriting, therapy may include multisensory techniques to help with handwriting. If a child struggles with focus, the therapist might have that child do full-body exercises before sitting down to do homework.
The earlier a child starts OT, the more effective it tends to be. Being able to do basic tasks can also help build up child’s self-esteem and confidence, which can drop when they are struggling, especially in front of their peers.