News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Q & A: Who can help me determine what therapies and interventions my child with ASD may need?

JCCHD | Mon, June 11, 2012 | [Autism Treatment][Healthcare][Q and A ]

Ensuring that the right clinical team is in place is the first step on the road to understanding health concerns for children with ASD and accurately addressing each of them. With parental input, medical, nutritional, behavioral, and dietetic professionals design interventions that should be specific to each patient; a good working relationship with your child’s team will decrease your stress and allow for a better outcome for your child and family.

The location of the clinic, the experience and expertise of the clinicians, and the services they provide are factors that should be considered.

  • Location of the Clinic:
    In the past, options were limited due to geographic location, but this is no longer the case. Many practitioners working with children and families affected by autism now use technology to bridge the gap created by physical distance. Telemedicine (the use of telecommunications and/or web-based solutions for communication) has made it possible for families to receive specialized medical, nutritional, and dietetic care from a distance.  Some out-of-state or even out-of-the-country practitioners are now realistic options. Questions should be addressed in any initial inquiry—for example, it’s important to note that most states require physicians to perform yearly physical examinations.
  • Experience and expertise of the providers:
    Autism spectrum disorders are complex and pervasive.  The last decade has brought great advances in the understanding of these disorders and finding clinicians who are up-to-date on the latest research and invested fully in understanding and implementing appropriate care is crucial to ensuring your child has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential.
  • Services Provided:
    Not all offices and clinics provide the same services. Here are some services to consider:
    • Diagnostic services
    • Medical services
    • Nutritional evaluation and management
    • Dietetic analysis and consultation
    • Behavioral management
      • ABA therapy
      • Feeding support and intervention
      • Toilet training
      • Parent training
      • Educational evaluation
      • Teacher training
    • Research opportunities
    • Family support

Many new parents interview a number of pediatricians trying to find one who will fit with their style and needs. Choosing a practitioner who focuses on appropriate interventions for children with developmental delays should be no different. The Autism Research Institute (ARI) has a list of questions that could be used while interviewing a potential practitioner. A list of these questions can be found here.

Taking the time to find the right practitioners is crucial to long-lasting success and health for your child.