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Episode #057: Speech Therapy For Autistic Students – Where To Start With Intervention

As Speech Language Pathologists, it can be overwhelming to create a therapy plan for learners with no speech at all. Where do you get started? In this episode, I talk with Terri Smith. She is an SLP and the founder and owner of Bluebird Speech Therapy and Consulting Services.

Help Me Find My Voice and Start Communicating Now are two courses I offer online for professionals and parents. Terri shared with me how she found ABA Speech and has attended and utilized these resources. She describes her takeaway from these courses as a “Road Map” for therapy with autistic or nonverbal learners. These courses provide real actionable tips, step-by-step ideas for therapy, and most importantly assessments that focus on communication skills that are crucial for nonverbal learners.

Requesting is an important skill that Terri focuses on in her therapy. She finds that this gives her learners power by realizing their communication means something! Additionally, it’s all about the fun, child-led activities built into social and game play that make a big difference, especially when working with nonverbal students. One rule she works by is planning therapy based on  learners’ developmental age not their chronological age.

Terri works with students with autism to support functional communication and behavior strategies through play-based activities. As a consultant, she also supports other professionals in the field. Oftentimes, SLPs and BCBAs work together simultaneously with families and clients. Even myself as both, can sometimes disagree on treatment plans. It’s important to remember when it comes to speech that the SLP is the expert, but also to continue to have that professional dialogue. Regardless of the points of disagreement when a professional is passionate about something it is obvious that their intention is just what’s best for the learner.

Every student we see is very different with very different needs, it is important for  therapy to match that and change client to client. This is such a great interview in which Terri and I talk about some great tips, tools, and guidelines for getting started with therapy, as well as the big difference my online courses can make!

#autism #speechtherapy

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Today’s Guest:

Terri Smith, M.S., CCC-SLP, is the founder and owner of Bluebird Speech Therapy and Consulting Services, LLC in Street, Maryland. Terri currently works with preschool aged children who have been diagnosed with autism at Infinity Center for Behavior Services in Harford County, MD. She also works as an SLP leader in the Harford County Public School System in Maryland, working with SLP’s and other staff in their regional autism program. Terri earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Towson University and beyond that, has had extensive training and education in behaviorally based speech technologies. Terri is nationally certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and holds licensure as a speech-language pathologist in the State of Maryland. Terri has extensive experience working with children with Autism, preschool through 5th grade. She provides consultation to school and clinic staff on the use of behavioral speech strategies for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Terri is passionate about working closely with families and other service providers to provide support and education in the areas of autism, functional communication, behavioral strategies, and play-based, child-led activities. She works at Infinity Center for Behavior Services, Director of Clinical Children’s Services and Harford County Public Schools, Bel Air, MD –

What’s Inside:

  • How can ABA Speech online courses help SLPs and other professionals?
  • Where to get started in intervention.
  • How you can help your students communicate.
  • How to bring fun into therapy.
  • The assessments and roadmap for beginning therapy.

Mentioned In This Episode

Thank You To Our Sponsor:

Don’t miss Pyramid Educational Consultants’ Second Annual FUNctional Behavior Conference on April 4th and 5th, 2022! Pyramid’s international team of behavior analysts, and dually certified speech pathologists, led by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost, the developers of PECS, have created all new and expanded content that includes a broad range of practical information related to the field of behavior analysis. Day one will focus on content related to educational programming and program development. Day two of the virtual conference will present information related to behavior analysis and communication. Earn up to 8.0 BACB CEUs including one ethics and one supervision credit when you attend the full virtual conference. To learn more about attending the FUNctional Behavior Conference on April 4th & 5th, visit!

Bluebird Speech on Facebook
—Facebook: @TerriSmithSLP
Instagram @BlueBirdSpeech
ABA SPEECH Your Autism Resource

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