When an individual with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents any type of challenge to family members or professionals, the immediate and logical response is to call for help. As a result, Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA) staff are available to provide on-site consultations on behalf of specific individuals of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in a variety of settings, including early intervention, schools, homes and adult settings. To help clarify when and under what conditions the Indiana Resource Center for Autism can assist, we have developed the following guidelines.
When providing consultation services, the primary goal of IRCA staff is to work with the individual’s team to problem-solve programming strategies. Therefore, if a family member calls, they will be asked if the building administrator, director of special education, executive of the agency, or other administrator is aware that a phone call has been placed. If a professional calls, IRCA staff will ask if the family or individual him/herself is aware of the request. IRCA staff will not proceed until it is clear that a collaborative decision has been made to request our services. This step is not intended to discourage requests, but rather to encourage communication and collaboration. Once a consult is scheduled, the following will likely be requested:
- Current reports sent in advance of the consultation (e.g., psychological reports, other assessment summaries and evaluations, individual program goals, behavior support plans, functional behavioral assessment, information from family members and/or professionals highlighting concerns).
- Time to meet, interact with, and observe the individual during naturally occurring situations. An observation can be a daylong observation (or shorter).
- Attendance at a meeting after the observation of those involved in the individual’s life (e.g., educator, speech therapists, occupational therapists, behavioral consultant, direct support staff), the individual him/herself (if appropriate), an administrator, and family member(s), when available. This requires sufficient release time for staff to meet to discuss programming ideas. Professionals and family members should plan for the meeting to last no longer than 2 hours. The purpose of the meeting is to problem-solve strategies and develop collaborative recommendations. For schools, it is also recommended that your autism team leader attend this meeting to assist with follow-up.
- A report will be generated after the first meeting to summarize recommendations. A copy of the report will be sent to the person(s) identified in the meeting.
- Follow up contact is encouraged and generally is the responsibility of those who request the consult. Contact the IRCA to discuss dates and ongoing concerns. The purpose of these follow-ups is to provide on-site mentoring and additional problem solving opportunities. If a follow-up meeting occurs, family members and staff will be asked to provide updated information on the status of recommendations. Also, feel free to email or call staff after the consultation for ongoing problem-solving.
Each year, IRCA staff spends time in a variety of settings across Indiana. Our goal is to ensure that all involved gain maximum benefit from our time, and that individuals across the autism spectrum receive needed instruction, support, and assistance. For more information about our organization or to schedule an individual consultation, contact Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D, (812) 855-6508 or email@example.com.