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Which allied health and health professionals do you need to see... and what do they do?!

Which allied health people should you see and what do they all do?! It can be so confusing! Just remember. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many services at once. We are looking at the endgame here, getting your child functioning as best you can for adulthood, not fixing everything right here and now. Persistence and consistency works wonders over time!

So here’s the list of peeps and what they all tend to do. There can be some overlap between services as well.

Paediatricians and psychiatrists - These medical professionals are very helpful to point you in the right direction, act as case managers to oversee all of the other services to make sure you are doing the right thing to meet your goals, help you manage any mental health care plans or funding documents you may need and discuss the suitability of medication for your child. They may be helpful for the diagnosis of ASD although this is also often done with information from multiple allied health professionals. Paediatricians will also assist with any additional medical concerns your child may have (e.g., diabetes, epilepsy). Psychiatrists focus on the mental health side of things but have a medical degree and then specialise in mental health/psychiatry.

Clinical Psychologists - We focus on anything to do with emotional, social, behavioural or family concerns. We also treat all mental health disorders that may occur in conjunction with the child’s ASD, for example, Tourette’s disorder, ADHD, anxiety or depression. We may also do IQ and educational assessments. We can work with the school to ensure we are all working together to meet the child’s needs. We cannot prescribe medication.

Educational Psychologists - An educational psychologist works to assess and improve any learning difficulties your child’s may have and may work with the school to support them.

Speech and Language Pathologists - They will assess your child’s current speech and language functioning and then work to improve any speech or language concerns. They can also provide social skills intervention (also called pragmatic language). Some speech therapists (and OT’s and nutritionists) are trained to assist with eating difficulties. They can assist with stuttering, sign language and alternative methods of communication as well such as the Proloquo2go app.

Occupational Therapists - OT’s are very useful for remediating fine and gross motor skills delays (e.g., fine motor = handwriting, using utensils, doing up buttons; gross motor = hand-eye coordination, helping the brain communicate with the body to coordinate movement, walking). They also help with sensory issues and emotion regulation training.

Support Workers - Support workers are really helpful for a range of support including improving daily living skills such as learning to do household chores or stay organised. They can be used to take your child to activities that may improve their skills and wellbeing such as a yoga class or social skills group. It just depends what you need them for. Although you could do these things too, sometimes it’s better coming from another person. Some might even be able to help with homework.

Other health professionals - Some other professionals that may also be involved in your child’s life are nutritionists or dieticians, physiotherapists, and tutors.

Hope that helps!! 💕

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