When your child receives an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis, it can be a hard pill to swallow; Not necessarily from the diagnosis itself, but more in not knowing how to go about getting help for you and your child. If you’re like many parents of children on the spectrum, the diagnosis might have been difficult to accept but a sense of relief does come from it.
There have probably been times when you noticed certain behaviors in your child that may have seemed different, or even “off” but didn’t realize those behaviors were signs of autism. Now that you know the root cause of those behaviors, you can at least feel assured in that and work on moving forward to helping your child.
As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your child, so in your search for help, you’re also not going to accept just any form of help as well. Living in the Nashville, Tennessee area, it can be a difficult decision to decide where to go to receive help for your child, as there are quite a few locations in the area.
So how do you know what to look for when searching for autism services in Nashville? Well, outside of insurance acceptance, location, and waitlists, here are some of the biggest considerations to think about when searching for autism services in Nashville.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is one of the top therapies used to help individuals with autism, however, that’s not the only therapy used. If you feel your child may potentially need more than ABA therapy, you’ll want to not only make sure the centers you look at offer other forms of therapy but also consider how the different services will fit into your daily and weekly schedule as it is. Does the center offer occupational therapy? Does the center offer training for parents and caregivers? Autism centers such as JoyBridge Kids offer quite a few services that not only help children on the spectrum but also the parents and caregivers of children on the spectrum as well. At JoyBridge, the services offered include:
- Parent Caregiver Training
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- ABA Therapy
If the centers you’re looking at don’t offer additional services, how can they state their therapies and techniques will truly benefit your child? No two children are alike, nor should their treatment methods. If additional services aren’t offered at a center you’re looking at, it could be a red flag.
The Focus of the Program
Knowing exactly what a center’s program focus is will easily help you weed out centers that will benefit your child and those that won’t. Some autism centers focus solely on early intensive behavioral intervention, specializing in adolescent children, ages two to ten. If your child is 15, then a center that focuses on adolescent children won’t be a good program fit. Knowing and understanding the age group a center treats and has experience in will play a significant role in how the center’s environment, tools, and peer interactions will shape the outcome of therapy for your child.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, the focus is immediately set on the child (as it should) but it’s all too easy to forget that the parent or guardian is enduring a life-changing event as much as the child is and will need just as much help adjusting to the change as the child will. You will want to enroll your child in a center that has parent/guardian training. Centers that provide this type of training empower and equip parents with the tools and strategies to take what their child learned during their therapy session and apply those very techniques and skills in real-life scenarios outside of a clinical setting.
Company Size and Years of Experience
Both size and years of experience can greatly affect the quality of therapy your child receives. That doesn’t mean that small centers have little experience, nor does it mean that large centers have extensive years of experience. You simply have to vet the centers you inquire about. Ask those difficult questions. The right center will have no problem answering any questions you may have.
The years of experience the staff has will be a direct indicator of how much help your child will receive. A therapist that’s newly licensed isn’t going to have nearly as much experience as a seasoned vet, but that also doesn’t mean you have to dismiss a new therapist. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Talking to the therapists and getting a feel of the environment and temperament of the therapists will help put your mind at ease when it comes to years of experience and the size of the center.
Program focus, parent training, services offered, and company size/years of experience will all play a significant role in choosing autism services in Nashville, or anywhere else. At JoyBridge Kids, we offer all of that and more. From our therapists to therapy techniques, our whole mission is to create and deliver life-transforming experiences for every child and family we serve. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help your family!