An important part of Sharon's approach involves working in collaboration with parents and school staff in order to gain an accurate profile of the child's strengths and difficulties and to agree goals for intervention.
Training and coaching parents and education staff so that they have the skills they need to implement therapy goals throughout daily life to maximise the child's progress is an important aspect of the therapy package.
The standard approach would usually be as follows, however each child, young person and family receives an individualised service.
This is a thorough process and will involve bringing together and making sense of several sources of information.
A full assessment may include the following:
1. Taking a developmental history from parents including current concerns.
2. Current concerns from the child's educational placement.
3. The views of the child or young person.
4. Observations of the child or young person in a social context; in lessons and at break times.
5. Standardised and informal assessments from a range of test materials, selected according to the identified issues and age of the child.
6. A written summary of initial findings with recommendations for a therapy package.
7. A consultation with parents and school staff to discuss findings and agree a strategy to implement the therapy plan.
Goals for intervention are clearly defined and strong emphasis is put on those that will help the child be more effective in daily life.
Attention is given to developing independence skills and addressing unusual or difficult behaviour when this is linked to the communication difficulties associated with Autism. For severely challenging behaviour referral to CAMHS or Clinical Psychology would be recommended,
Sharon uses approaches that have proven effectiveness in the field of Autism and she is trained and experienced in uses a wide range of these such as:
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
TEACCH Approach (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children)
Social stories and comic strip conversations
The National Autistic Society SPELL approach (Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low arousal, Links)
The SCERTS model (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support).