Becoming An Advocate For The ASD Patient Through The Autism Empowerment Team

Becoming an advocate for the ASD patient through the Autism Empowerment Team

When working with patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it is important to realize that the patient may not have the ability to express his or her wants and needs in the same way as other patients.  One of the defining features of ASD is a significant deficit in communication.  That means that patients may not be able to tell caregivers where they feel pain or what they need to feel better.

These communication deficits can cause a great deal of frustration for clients, parents, and caregivers.  It often falls to the nurse or caregiver to advocate for the needs of the patient.  Patients with disabilities may not have their needs met because they might not have the ability to request items or express their pain inappropriate ways. Individuals with autism often have additional diagnoses, such as depression or seizures, which can make diagnosis and treatment additionally challenging. That makes it all the more important for nurses and caregivers to be attentive to their needs and truly determine what is causing pain or injury for the child.

Taking on this responsibility of advocating for the patient is a vital component of becoming part of the Autism Empowerment Team. Special Learning recently created the Autism Empowerment Team (AET) concept to provide coordinated care. For every person with Autism and other special needs, there are groups of people who care for, work with, and treat the same individuals. AET team members have the responsibility to work in collaboration with each other to ensure the highest outcome levels. The AET consists of parents, other family members, pediatricians, caregivers, behavior therapists, and others who are dedicated to helping this patient succeed.

When in the role of caregiver, nurses and other medical professionals have a responsibility to work with the other members of the AET to gather information about the patient and provide the highest quality of care possible for their patient.  At Special Learning, we offer easily accessible and affordable customized resources for each AET member!

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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