The Importance of a Team Approach to ASD Therapy

Amanda Prater, the ABA Program Supervisor at Kaufman Children's Center, provides insight.

Just as every child is different, the interventions chosen to help those experiencing autism spectrum disorders (ASD), depend on his or her individual needs. However, the most common therapies sought by parents are applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech-language therapy and occupational therapy. Unfortunately, too often these three disciplines are managed separately, even though evidence has shown that a team approach to treatment is critical for best managing the complex needs of a child with ASD. At Kaufman, we are able to offer families all three services in one location. This allows our therapists to communicate and collaborate to offer our patients the best possible treatment. Here are some examples of how the three types of therapists work together for the benefit of a child with ASD:

  • During ABA therapy, the board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) provides support during speech and occupational therapy sessions, using preventative strategies to reduce problem behaviors and increase the productiveness of each session. These include token boards or point systems, visual schedules, timers, most-to-least prompting, etc.
  • The occupational therapist guides some goals implemented in ABA such as cutting, handwriting and strategies to increase independence with activities of daily living.
  • The speech -language pathologist (SLP) helps the BCBA to select targets for emerging vocal communicators, shaping vocal approximations to words with better articulation and selecting a communication system best suited for a child.
  • The SLPs also aids in selecting goals to extend existing receptive and expressive vocabularies. They join ABA team weekly or bi-weekly meetings regarding the care of each patient and occasionally attend meetings with parents.

As you can see, the coordination between these three pillars of autism therapy allow targeted goals to get a multi-pronged approach. Too often autism treatments are done without the knowledge or cooperation of all of the therapists who are employed to help the child. We at Kaufman Children’s Center have committed to change that approach for the betterment of the child and his or her outcomes

Brought to you by Kaufman Children’s Center. Visit kidspeech.com for more information on their speech, language, sensory, motor and social connection services.

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