Diane Millar, chair of Radford University's department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COSD), presented a paper called "Using Research to Create a Unique Treatment Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Families, and Speech-Language Pathologists" at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Schools Conference in Long Beach, Calif., last weekend.
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 166,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.
Co-authored by Millar, COSD Instructor Pat Rossi and Brandi Holland '09, M.A. '09, a speech language pathologist for the Botetourt County Schools, the paper recaps a treatment model developed by the RU Autism Center (RUAC) and implemented over the past six years during its Family Autism Camp. The treatment model is an intensive family-oriented program that teams children without impairments and children with autism spectrum disorders together to create a natural environment for improving communication and social skills.
"At the ASHA Schools conference, we presented the treatment model we developed here at RU to provide SLP's with strategies for incorporating elements of our model into their clinical practice in the schools," said Millar.
Millar said that as the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) rise, many SLP's are challenged to design evidence-based treatment programs. In 2008, the RUAC developed its treatment model based upon the recommendations of the National Research Council and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and incorporated them into the Family Autism Camp (FAC), which recently completed its sixth year. In addition to creating a unique program that includes children without disabilities and children with ASDs, the FAC teaches families how to use therapy strategies at home. The RUAC also invites school-based SLPs to participate in the program to learn how to use research to guide their clinical practice.
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