As you begin to research options for autism treatment provider, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Here are a few things to consider as you make this incredibly important decision.
What are your “must haves”?
You are going to have a long-term relationship with the autism treatment provider you choose. It’s critical that this be a good match – for the both of you. Stop and take a good hard look at your child’s needs, your family’s goals and your overall circumstances.
For example, you might prioritize that your child is seen at a specific time. Your circumstances might mean that Monday nights simply, absolutely don’t work. And that’s okay. There is no right answer here! Every family and every set of circumstances are different.
The important thing is to have a clear idea of what your family has to have or positively cannot have – and then be up front about it. If the provider can’t meet these needs, the relationship won’t work.
What details can the autism treatment provider tell you?
A good provider will be able to provide specifics about how they operate. Be sure to ask questions such as:
-Who will see my child?
-What qualifications does this person/people have?
-How are treatment programs designed?
-How are treatment programs monitored?
-How will we know if my child is making progress?
-How will information be communicated to me?
Because so much of autism treatment requires the work of specialists, ask the provider about his/her areas of expertise. Make sure those areas are those that are most important for your family.
Also, don’t forget to discuss the clinic’s administrative policies, such as what happens if you need to cancel a session at the last minute. This can shed a lot of insight into what it will be like to work with everyone at the clinic.
What red flags should you watch out for?
Every autism treatment program should help your child make progress. Sadly, though, there is no cure. If a provider ever quotes how many patients they’ve “cured,” be extremely wary.
Similarly, progress during treatment will occur on your child’s own timetable – and no one else’s. If a provider is able to tell you right off the bat exactly how long treatment will last, this may be another red flag.
Look for a provider who will not only conduct a thorough baseline assessment but will also consistently collect and analyze data to evaluate your child’s progress. The provider should be able to communicate this progress to you – not vague terms, like, “I feel like Johnny is making progress …” but with specific details, such as, “Johnny demonstrated X behaviors in July, and in August that grew to Y behaviors …”
And finally, a good provider should be somewhat selective in the types of clients they work with. The provider should be able to explain who is a good fit for them. If the provider accepts everyone, and can fit you in tomorrow, there may be a problem; either the provider may be new and inexperienced, or the provider may have difficulty retaining clients due to problems you’re not aware of.
Give yourself enough time
How long should the search take? Researching options, scheduling appointments and evaluating providers can take quite a bit of time, so be sure to start looking as soon as you can.
Even once you select the provider, it may still take four to six weeks before your child’s treatment program is fully developed and up and running. During this time, your child might see a therapist intermittently, but much of that time will be focused on conducting assessments and developing the treatment program.
On the whole, selecting an autism treatment provider is a massive decision that will have long-ranging impacts on your child and your family. By taking the time to carefully assess your options, ask smart questions and look beyond the obvious answers, you’ll help to ensure a successful relationship and continued progress for your child.
For more information about the ABA therapy services we provide at Positive Behavioral Connections, please contact us today!