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Benefits Of Interdisciplinary Therapy For Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researching the best therapies for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be stressful for many parents. At Papillon we believe a flexible, customized care plan is the most beneficial for the child and the family as a whole.

Excited Child

Introducing Interdisciplinary therapy:

As parents and families know, every child with ASD is unique, and the needs of one child can be very different from others within this spectrum.

There are many different characteristics of ASD. Characteristics may include the ability to communicate with and relate to others. Difficulties with behaviour and social interaction. Enhanced sensory perception making certain experiences stressful. It can also compel repetitive motions, actions, and verbalizations. For many children with ASD, one single type of therapy is not comprehensive enough to address and encompass these needs.

Along with these manifestations, ASD is often associated with additional physical and mental health issues that can contribute to and amplify them.

Children may benefit from a range of different therapy methods to aid their learning and development. For example, children could require a combination of Applied Behavioural Therapy (ABA), Speech and Language Pathology (SLP). Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), and Psychology at different stages as they mature.

Father and Son

The Struggle Many Parents Experience

For parents, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the different treatments and therapies can be confusing. Help is not always readily available and finding the best treatments can become a protracted game of trial and error.

Trial and error is not an ideal approach. Dealing with different specialists working in silos has its limitations. For children, different treatments can be beneficial at different timings. Rather than an informal approach which waits on recommendations from individual therapists working in isolation, goals shared by therapists with each other and families in pre-scheduled consultations and team meetings are more effective.

“Siloed” communication is a common issue faced by parents. This gets worse when parents are left to navigate the various therapies on their own. ASD is a complex condition, and therapy programs offered should be flexible, intersected, and aim to relieve the barriers to receiving the best care for each individual child.

Family Walking

How Interdisciplinary Therapy Benefits Families

At Papillon Family Health we are firm believers in interdisciplinary therapy methodology. Research and our own experience have shown that when therapists, parents, and educators work collectively it has a positive and significant impact on both the development of children with ASD and the wellbeing of their families.

What Does Interdisciplinary ASD Therapy Involve?

Interdisciplinary therapy involves regular assessments with children to match the therapy specialties to their individual needs as they learn and grow. Instead of these specialists working alone, they work within a team to develop a therapy program unique to each child. Therapists remain in regular communication with each other so progress can be monitored and common goals can be set based on shared observation and experience. This technique creates a flexible and intuitive learning trajectory that supports the child’s natural growth.

The Role of Families in the Interdisciplinary Therapy Model

With this method of ASD treatment, parents and families are viewed as a valuable resource and core part of the care program. A child’s family is an expert when it comes to their unique needs, abilities, comfort levels, and preferences, and this information can be of great benefit to therapists. Interdisciplinary therapy recognizes that parent involvement can also reinforce learning outside of the therapy sessions, so encourages parents to participate and incorporate therapy techniques into home routines.

Mother and Daughter

Interdisciplinary therapy acknowledges that there may be a variety of different educators and caregivers in a child’s life in addition to their family and therapists. The communication goals aim to encompass each of these silos from the professionals at school or daycare, to sports coaches and club leaders, so each of these individuals can receive useful direction if required and share feedback.

At Papillon, we believe that ASD services should be a source of learning, growth, and support, not a cause of stress and confusion. Our goal is to help children, but also families, and educators. We have integrated the values of interdisciplinary therapy into every aspect of our services. We aim to support every impact on children’s lives, from designing a customized care plan to assisting parents with funding applications and coordination with schools.

Ahmed Haboubi