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Autism Therapy: Children's Hospital team helps child with speech

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There's a new hope for parents who have children living with autism.

A team at Children's Hospital is showing how targeted, one-on-one therapy could lead to improvements in the children. Two years ago a mother said her child was completely non verbal. He'd been diagnosed with autism which is a condition often present from early on characterized by difficulties with everything from forming relationships to communication. A combination of therapy is helping the child, and others, have something to talk about!

When Samir, who is now 6-year-old, first came to meet with the speech and language team he was screaming and yelling all the time because he could not express himself. Samir was considered completely non-verbal. Today, people can hear him say simple things.

"Simple things like this weren't so simple just a little while ago. He's made some amazing progress thanks to the team here," said his mother, Helen Tayar.

She said Samir's breakthrough with speech and communication started with picture therapy that moved to words, "And in very little time he moved to be able to speak in full sentences."

Within months his mother began to notice serious changes, "He moved from being non verbal to verbal, and his life got more easy. And he makes life for us easier because we are able to understand what he exactly needs."

And then as his words and actions came together. The team at Children's says that while not every child with autism can have a similar breakthrough it's important to highlight those that do so we share in their success.

Samir's mom's message now: sometimes in spite of the odds a child with autism will one day speak.

One of the things that makes a lot of this possible now is that when a child starts with pictures the team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital uses computer programs to help them hear the words that match the pictures. The other interesting thing, Samir is also becoming bi-lingual. He now can communicate some of his words in Arabic as well as English.

Speech and language therapy is often covered by medical insurance plans for children with autism. But sometimes it does require prior authorization or the use of a limited network of providers.

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