Becoming an advocate for the ASD patient through the Autism Empowerment Team
When working with patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it is important to realize that the patient may not have the ability to express his or her wants and needs in the same way as other patients. One of the defining features of ASD is a significant deficit in communication. That means that patients may not be able to tell caregivers where they feel pain or what they need to feel better.
These communication deficits can cause a great deal of frustration for clients, parents, and caregivers. It often falls to the nurse or caregiver to advocate for the needs of the patient. Patients with disabilities may not have their needs met because they might not have the ability to request items or express their pain inappropriate ways. Individuals with autism often have additional diagnoses, such as depression or seizures, which can make diagnosis and treatment additionally challenging. That makes it all the more important for nurses and caregivers to be attentive to their needs and truly determine what is causing pain or injury for the child.
Taking on this responsibility of advocating for the patient is a vital component of becoming part of the Autism Empowerment Team. Special Learning recently created the Autism Empowerment Team (AET) concept to provide coordinated care. For every person with Autism and other special needs, there are groups of people who care for, work with, and treat the same individuals. AET team members have the responsibility to work in collaboration with each other to ensure the highest outcome levels. The AET consists of parents, other family members, pediatricians, caregivers, behavior therapists, and others who are dedicated to helping this patient succeed.
When in the role of caregiver, nurses and other medical professionals have a responsibility to work with the other members of the AET to gather information about the patient and provide the highest quality of care possible for their patient. At Special Learning, we offer easily accessible and affordable customized resources for each AET member!
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