Team up for autism!
Posted on April 16 2018
This week is Autism Awareness Week at MJ’s school, today is “Team Up for Autism” day. Although, the school wanted something catchy and easy to display (wearing your favorite team jersey) the idea rings true. Especially given MJ just may be THE most important member on Maddox’s team! When a child has autism there are a whole team up people that play a part in their success. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase it takes a village! Parents, family members and friends are the first line. But the additional “team members” is a pretty expansive list; Developmental Pediatricians, Additional Medical Personnel (Nutritionist, Allergist, Gastroenterologist, etc) Case Manager, Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs), Teachers/Behavioral Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Physical Therapists (PTs) Psychiatrists, Psychologists amongst others. Different children have different team members...most children will not have ALL of these team members, but some certainly do.
Developmental Pediatrician - a Pediatrician with specialty training in the emotional, physical, behavioral and social development of children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says “Developmental-behavioral pediatricians are medical doctors who have completed; four years of medical school, three years of residency training in pediatrics, board certification in pediatrics and additional subspecialty training in developmental-behavioral pediatrics.” You may want to have your child see a developmental pediatrician if your child has (or you think he/she may have): delayed speech and/or trouble understanding language, delayed motor skills (crawling, walking, eating, riding a bicycle), poor social skills, trouble sleeping (including bedwetting), trouble feeding or eating, sensory sensitivities, trouble at school (paying attention; learning to read, write or do math), or anything else you may feel is alarming or different to you. The developmental pediatrician will then point you in the right direction of your next step, including if you should have your child evaluated by any additional medical personnel.
Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBA) - an individual who has received a graduate or doctoral degree, completed coursework in Behavior Analysis, has completed hours of supervised practical experience, and has passed the BCBA exam. Their job consists of creating an individualized ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) program as well as maintaining the program, constantly evaluating the goals, and supervising the child’s team of behavioral therapists. The BCBA spends countless hours working to ensure that the goals put in place and skills being taught are tailored to how your child learns and what your child needs to grow. Whether your child needs help with communication, feeding, potty-training, grooming etc; all programs are created specifically for your child.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) - "work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults." The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Due to the fact that many children with autism have communication barriers, SLPs are so very important as they provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems these systems can provide a much needed way for non-verbal individuals to communicate their wants and needs, thereby preventing frustration that can lead to problem behaviors.
Child Psychiatrist - "a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior affecting children, adolescents, and their families. A child and adolescent psychiatrist offers families the advantages of a medical education, the medical traditions of professional ethics, and medical responsibility for providing comprehensive care." American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This is team member that is very important in the medication management of a child that has comorbid conditions. It is a very difficult thing as a parent to make the decision to put your child on medication at such an early age, but sometimes in order for them to reach their full potential there is really no choice. they are an integral part of the team.
I only went into detail about the team members that I deal with on a regular basis. Maddox however has seen an allergist, a neurologist, we have attempted to start him with a feeding therapist (insurance denied this request, a topic for a whole other day), will be seeing a nutritionist, etc., etc. It takes a village!! Ciao for now...Monica