NOTE: PROCEED WITH CAUTION –
< My Thoughts > **Remember, when considering an intervention / program / service /treatment, there is much at stake. Do your homework. Know that as well as creating a practice or program, the principal/provider must meet all qualifying professional standards, certification, and licensing. It’s up to you to find out if they do.
Therapy, instructional, intervention programs and services are ‘big business’. Just because their sales staff has convinced major insurance companies of the program’s ability to change a child’s autism trajectory with their treatment program, doesn’t mean that ‘your child’ will be the one who benefits this time.
Put as much effort into investigating program claims, necessary follow-up procedures, and efficacy (warranties) as you would when buying a car, important household appliance, or any major financial or emotional investment. Here are just some questions to ask.
- Are you comfortable with the ‘financial’ risk involved? Just taking a financial risk, in the name of helping your child, does not always make it the right thing to do. When you are heavily invested in one program, it makes it very difficult to enter another program which may be more appropriate for your child.
- Early Intervention doesn’t mean you should rush into a program. Consider various outcomes. What are the best/worst things that could happen?
- Can you choose a different therapist, if your child does not seem to be responding to the program or the agent? Children are very perceptive to the positive and negative energy around them.
- Are there ‘short term‘ options offered, before you make a final decision about their program?
- Every case of autism is quite different. What are considered my child’s riskiest behaviors, and how will this intervention program help? Will you consider the best times and ways my child seems to learn? Will it fit within the family schedule?
- Does the family agree with the providers about the possible cause and effects the program will have on your child's behavior?
- Will the family become welcomed as program participants? Or, will they be expeted to remain on the sidelines?
- Will you need a special area, for the sessions to be successful? For example, a ‘Sensory Room’, or other designated area at home or in the classroom.
- A free ‘Functional Behavior Plan’ assessment may be available through your local school district; even if your child is not of school-age. How can you access this service and recommendations?
Get an independent second opinion to verify what you have been told by providers. Assume nothing. Always trust, but verify! Get everything in writing. How is this going to help your child? Specifically, in what way will it help? What are the program short-term and long-term goals?
How will you know if the behavior learned will transfer to the child’s home and/or school environment? Make certain you have written permission to exit a service, without penalty, if it isn’t working for the child or the family. Or, what can you do if the current program interferes with another future intervention that your child is found to need?
Never assume anything…clarify and verify…verify and clarify. Make certain in writing, what you are agreeing to. Follow your ‘parent instincts’, but stop feeling pressured or rushed. These a ‘life altering’ decisions; for you, your child, and your family. For better… or, for worse. And, always, always consult your child's physician, before making a final decision.