My role as a peadiatric psychologist is really varied but one consistent theme I hear from parents is that trying to manage the various supports, therapies, interventions and medical treatments is akin to high level project management. With the most important client – their child!
Most children I work with, particularly those with a diagnosis of ASD, will also have a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, paediatrician, GP, and some form of educator in their lives. And then for the kiddos engaged in a formal early intervention program like Applied Behaviour Analysis, you can add a few more therapists and an ABA program supervisor to that list. That’s without considering music therapists, art therapists, gym instructors or swimming teachers! Each and every one of these individuals involved in the child’s life has a very important message and part to play in their outcomes. The only trouble is that it gets diluted and lost along the way if a coherent approach isn’t used. And dilution equals time and money down the drain.
‘What is a coherent approach?’ I hear you ask. That’s when all the professionals involved in the child’s support team are on the same page. Talking the same lingo. Respectful and understanding of each others’ involvement. If the speech therapist is using a makaton sign to aide communication but the psychologist is using a visual prompt/picture, we run the risk of a confused littlie, and progress slows down. If only the psychologist knew that the speechie was using the sign and not the picture…I could go on and on with examples but I think you get the point! We can’t put the pressure on parents to communicate all of this to each person involved.
This is why at Northern Centre for Child Development we have just launched our new service TeamConnect which was developed to enhance the intervention outcomes for children with additional needs by optimising communication between the family and the professionals involved. Each term we meet either in person or via virtual means (yep, totally tech savvy!) to get an update about the child’s progress, set clear goals, and confirm the strategies and language for use to enhance the intervention outcomes. Normally the factor that puts everyone off something like this is the organisation involved! Finding a time for 4+ people to meet when most of us work part time can be hugely challenging. Luckily as a part of the package, we take care of all of the organisation, plus provide a summary of the meeting to the relevant people.
Parents of children with ASD spend on average $30,000 to $50,000 per year on early intervention. The return on this investment can be increased by booking TeamConnect meetings to encourage:
- Keeping language consistent between disciplines and interventions
- Ensuring the child isn’t pulled in different directions
- Reducing the child’s anxiety
- Increasing the child’s performance by having a consistent approach
- Stopping parents being the messenger for their child
- Alleviating pressure on parents
Contact us for more info about TeamConnect -we’d love to make it work for you!