Evaluation Guidelines When Considering Nontraditional Therapies in Autism by TEACCH Staff

When considering a nontraditional therapy or treatment approach for your child with autism, it is important to ask questions and carefully assess the program being offered.

The following points should serve as guidelines for parents:

I. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

What is the treatment program?

Is there written information, a program description, detailed brochure etc?

Exactly what is involved for the child and the family?

What is the length of treatment?

What is the frequency of sessions?

How much parent time is required?

What are the financial costs?

Does the treatment program focus on one particular skill or is it a general, comprehensive approach?

Do parents, care providers, teachers, others need to be trained in the treatment technique?

Is there coordination between the treatment program and other individuals/services working with the family (e.g. teachers, therapists, doctors)?

Are the treatment program goals individualized for each person and their families?

Is there follow up and/or support after treatment termination?

II. RATIONALE AND PURPOSE OF PROGRAM

What is the rationale, philosophy, or purpose underlying the treatment program?

How is the philosophy tied to the specific treatment techniques?

How were the philosophy and treatment methods developed (e.g. scientific research, clinical experience, application or extension from a related field such as learning disabilities or mental retardation)?

Are you comfortable or agree with the philosophy of the program?

III. CREDENTIALS OF THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND STAFF

What is the background of the program staff?

Their training and professional credentials?

What is the staff's training and experience in autism?

What is their understanding of the nature of the disorder?

How much experience have they had in providing this type of treatment?

Is the program staff open to questions and input from the family or other professionals involved with the child?

IV. EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAM

What is the supporting evidence for the effectiveness of the program?

Is there any independent confirmation of the effectiveness of the treatment program?

What are the possible negative effects or side effects of the treatment?

What impact might the program have on the family's life style?


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TEACCH Staff
Chapel Hill TEACCH Center
Lee_Marcus@unc.edu