Our lens is changing, the landscape of therapies for autism is changing but personal judgment persists. This was the very issue that drove our website into full force; whether it’s parents judging other parents, professionals judging parents, professionals judging professionals – the fact remains that we are fighting each other and this makes for a tiring battle. Our perception of autism and the subsequent treatment needs to change as a community. We need to begin to see Autism for what it is; a collection of behaviours, which is arguably are an extreme personality type. Like anyone who has a personality, there are traits you could go a day or two without (e.g. behavioral and sensory meltdowns) but there are also traits that are far beyond belief and are brilliant. This is the gap we seem to be missing; we need to implement evidence-based practice within a strength-based model. We need to start a movement that acknowledges that Speech Pathology, Psychology, Occupational Therapy etc are all supportive systems that allows for the full expression of a child’s strengths. We want to tear down what is holding them back from showing us these strengths. We do not wish to change them … we wish to elicit happiness from them and to make life fun and accessible to them.
This is the mindset you should look for when looking for a therapist for your child. No longer should you take on board parental judgments but instead look for encouragement. So here are some, tips and hints to insist upon when selecting your child’s team.
What to look for (aside from impressive qualifications ;):
- Professionals who discuss, in good faith, that other professionals in your child’s team truly have the same goal in mind; positive outcome for your child.
- Those who stay on point.
- Those who leave conflicting personal belief systems at home. It is important that professionals speak from the heart but also remember that they are talking to someone with a different heart, in a different family, with different dynamics.
- Professionals who add to your resource bank rather than leaving you feeling confused.
- When you tell your support team that you are seeing wonderful results (even if it is not with their approach), they smile in encouragement and offer supportive strategies to that
- If you tell your professional that progress is limited (even if it is not with their approach) that they communicate their expectations with you, they revisit previously set goals and other alternative approaches and support
- If you feel lost and make comments that you do not know where to start that they tell you all they know which is relevant, they talk about researched methods as well as what they have seen to be of benefit and you guessed it – offer support.
- Professionals who help to clarify goals that you have expressed to them and what would need to happen in order for those goals to be met.
- This is more what to feel…Feel good when you leave a session. Our role as professionals is not only to help children reach their potential it is to help their families (you) climb an emotional scale. It is not helpful to contribute to a families’ doubt, guilt or anger. At the center of professional care should be the aim to elicit positive anticipation, passion and enthusiasm from families.
Now couple these traits with the love and desires you have for your child, only miraculous ideas and outcomes can result. The ultimate goal is to have client and ideally family profiling so well mapped out that we have guided paths to intervention that highlights best fit with each and every child in varied living environments. Specifically, a responder’s profile vs. a non-responder’s profile for any one-therapy option. This would make for one complex and intricate flow-chart that would no doubt be continuously added upon and expanded as we continue to learn more.
In the mean time I am sending support and love to all of the Mums and Dads out there who are feeling their way through all of the therapies on offer.