Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Treat autism earlier, more comprehensively/intensively for the best results.

I honestly believe that it can make a difference between an adult living as a resident in a long term health care facility, and an adult that has a career and is married.  http://www.ktvn.com/story/15605586/early-intensive-therapy-better-for-kids-with-autism-study-finds

This is one of my pet peeves in Speech Therapy.  It seems like it doesn't
Major brain structures implicated in autism.Image via Wikipedia
matter which of the couple dozen differing diagnostic categories you're in, you get therapy for thirty minutes, once a week.  Or in my case at our nursing home/rehabilitation center, thirty minutes, five times a week.  There are multiple areas that need intensive therapy for the best results. 

In the case of autism, research indicates that kids that get it earlier, get better at a faster rate.  Kids that get more of it, get better at a faster rate.  Kids that get certain kinds of it, get better at a faster rate.  A variable that can't be changed is the non-verbal intelligence of the kids.  Kids with higher non-verbal IQ get better at a faster rate. 

So why do insurance companies and institutional payor sources all say "we'll pay for 30 minutes of therapy per week."  There's no research to indicate that 30 minutes is the most appropriate number.  There's tons of research to indicate that 5 hours per week is much more effective.  I'm certain there is or will be at some point, research that shows that 40 hours per week is even better.  These things make the difference between a productive member of society with positive and meaningful relationships, and the guy that sits in front of the TV all day rocking back and forth. 

Autism Diagnostic Observation ScheduleImage via Wikipedia

Another pet peeve is not having enough doctors (only certain MDs specialize in this field) to diagnose autism.  As speech therapists, we know who has autism, we know how severe it is, and most of us know what should be done for maximum gains, and yet, if an MD hasn't made the diagnosis official, then the kids 'don't have' autism, and they can miss the most important therapeutic time of their lives. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: