An interdisciplinary approach
The daily experiences of children with ASD can vary greatly. Some require high levels of support, lifelong care, and supervision, while others — particularly those within the normal range of intellectual functioning — can learn to function independently.
There is no known cure for ASD. However, there is now significant evidence to indicate that early intervention and support based on developmental, behavioural, and educational principles makes a significant difference to the long-term outcomes for children with ASD. This is especially so when the child’s family is involved. Research currently indicates that the earlier the intervention is implemented, the more effective the outcome. Therefore, the early identification and treatment of ASD is crucial to the lives of children and families.
The assessment and treatment of children with ASD involve a team of professionals, which includes medical specialists (paediatricians and child psychiatrists) and allied health professionals (psychologists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists). Each professional plays an important but different role in the assessment and differential diagnosis of an ASD.
This website will focus on the roles and contributions of psychologists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists in the assessment and treatment of children with ASD. As will become clear, these allied health professionals have specific training and expertise, and they are able to make unique contributions to benefit children with ASD and their families. Research shows that the best outcomes for children with ASD are achieved when health and education professionals work collaboratively using a team approach to provide high standards of interventions that include support for parents and carers.