How do I raise concerns with my autism provider?
In their care journeys, some families experience variations in quality among autism providers. It’s often hard to tell before initiating services which providers are the highest-quality. We’ve created the following list of watch-outs for families who are already receiving services and concerned about the quality of care:
- High staff turnover
- Lack of professionalism or inappropriate comments made by frontline staff
- Use of non-evidence-based services
- Forcing or guilt-tripping the family into more hours of services despite a parent’s objections
- Lack of care coordination with other providers
- Poor reputation among families or pediatricians
- “Cookie cutter” or “one-size-fits-all” approaches, not individualized to each child
- Lack of communication from the provider
- Absence of parent training or parent support programs
Above all, trust your intuition as a parent. If something feels off to you about your provider, speak up and consider switching to another provider who listens better to your child and family.
My child isn’t making progress in therapy—what should I do?
Each person charts their own path, and children often respond differently to autism therapy. Some children make steady progress, while others take a bit more time. Here are some tips we recommend if you’re in this position:
- Be patient if you’re early in the process.
If you recently initiated therapy but haven’t seen progress yet, patience is key. At first, a provider may need time to establish a relationship with a child before you see progress.
- Talk to your care team.
If your child’s been receiving therapy for a while without measurable progress, ask your team for their opinions. They’ve likely noticed this as well and can discuss adjusting the treatment plan to your child’s needs. Progress should be reviewed with you during your regularly scheduled family treatment guidance, at least every 6 months.
- Consider switching providers.
If you are not seeing progress and your provider is not responsive to your feedback and needs, consider whether a switch to a different provider would benefit your child.
- Seek a broader health evaluation.
Children with autism often have other medical conditions that may not be fully addressed and could be impacting the child’s life and behavior. You could consider a comprehensive evaluation to look for co-occurring conditions (e.g., seizure disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety) that could affect their health and development.