Speech Associates Bring "Social Thinking" to Toronto

TORONTO, April 22, 2015 /CNW/ - According to Autism Ontario, autism occurrence rates are on the rise with approximately 100,000 people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  

Children with ASD may have varying degrees of social, communication and behavioural difficulties, all of which require early and effective treatment to allow them to participate in broader social activities and facilitate overall development.   

To recognize Speech and Hearing Month, approximately 200 health care providers and educators from across Ontario will come together on May 8th at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto.  They will support Autism Awareness by joining the highly acclaimed "Social Thinking" conference hosted by Speech Associates, Ontario's leading speech-language pathology clinic.

The Social Thinking approach was developed by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP. Winner has been awarded the Special Congressional Recognition for her ongoing innovative techniques, prompting students to think about how others would feel in similar daily social activities, as well as analyze reasons behind these social interactions - both verbal and non-verbal.  

Marika Roman, MSc-SLP, President of Speech Associates, expressed the importance of bringing Social Thinking to Canada and explained, "Canadian Autism communities have been in dire need for effective treatments for Autism. Many existing treatment approaches that centre on amplified reinforcers help Children with ASD to be more 'acceptable' to others. However, there is a need for approaches that can help children 'understand' the society and environment around them so that they can integrate autonomously."

"The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders recently published a study on the effectiveness of the Social Thinking approach which targets children's understanding of social interaction. As an SLP myself, I found their results to be very encouraging," Roman added.

The conference will walk through the "Incredible Flexible You" resource kit illustrating daily scenarios with colourful comics and explain in detail the use of Social Thinking Vocabularies, together with suggested activities to better understand the needs and difficulties faced by the students.

Due to overwhelming demand, a series of conferences are planned for later in the year.  

Interested parties may visit http://www.speechassociates.ca/socialthinkingconference.php for further details.

Speech Associates is one of the largest Speech Clinics in Ontario providing in-home Speech-Language Therapy. With more than 45 therapists dedicated to providing effective treatment to individuals as young as 15 months of age, our team of speech-language pathologists and Autism interveners apply practical strategies. These include Social Thinking across a range of disorders that extended beyond ASD, including individuals with ADHD, nonverbal learning challenges, as well as those with emotional learning challenges to help our clients become better social thinkers.

Autism Ontario encourages the use of applied research and applauds programs such as Social Thinking and groups like Speech Associates who work hard to bring evidence-based programming to community groups and professionals.  Expert training delivered to specialists, educators, and health care providers means Ontario professionals are equipped to support children with ASD in communities across the province.


For further information: For media inquiries, please contact Yolanda Ho, Office Manager, Speech INC. at (416) 967-7325 or email: events@speechassociates.ca

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