My child has Autism Spectrum Disorder – Whom should I see???

Jeanette Podolsky
Speech-language Pathologist
BA (Speech & Hearing Therapy)
Wits. Reg CASLPO

When you suspect your child has red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or has been recently diagnosed with ASD, as a parent you are faced with many tough decisions.

One of the most important questions you may ask is “Who is the best person to help my child?”

The answer is not straightforward as every child has different symptoms.

Some of the presenting symptoms you may see are:

  • Delayed speech and/or language
  • Almost no language development ( the child is non-verbal)
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Frustration and overall difficult behaviors

You may also ask “Should my child have ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) therapy, speech therapy, or both?”

At a recent presentation I attended, Dr. Joanne Gerenser* a speech-language pathologist and ABA therapist stated that:”

Inter-collaboration and early intervention is the key.”

This inter-collaboration varies from one child to another. For example the ABA therapist may provide the regular treatment with collaboration with the S-LP. The opposite can also occur where the S-LP provides the bulk of the treatment with the ABA therapist giving support regarding the behaviors.

Dr. Gerenser highlighted the importance of skilled and knowledgeable treatment providers who share and work together.

Speech-Language Pathologists have a rich knowledge of typical and atypical development and many other evidence-based skills. Likewise, ABA therapists are vitally important when dealing with the many behaviors associated with ASD.

When skilled therapists develop complementary and collaborative relationships there is often greater opportunity to improve outcomes in a child with ASD.

Reference:

Gerenser, Joanne PhD, Eden 11 Programs: “Applied Behavior Analysis and Speech-Language Pathology: An Integrated Approach to Promoting Language in Learners with Autism across the Lifespan.”  Geneva Centre for Autism, Toronto, March 20, 2018