Wrap Around Services for Children and Adults with ASD
Individuals with autism often see a range of specialists, therapists and professionals. These can be medical professionals such as a doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist, medical specialists in an area such as neurology or gastrointestinal disorders, and therapists such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists. We can also add educators, caregivers and support workers to this profile as they often spend hours with an individual.
Sometimes, these professionals do not collaborate or share information to create a holistic profile of a person. This lack of coordination can hinder the right support. It also leaves parents running around to many different appointments in various locations which is not an effective use of time and energy.
Professor Katrina Williams, director of Developmental Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH)in Melbourne, Australia, say researchers now recommend a place where everything is under one umbrella, where a team of experts can wrap around the child. This can happen in a hospital setting, agency or center.
Autism is a complex disorder which often requires the intervention of different specialists. A multifaceted condition deserves a single integrated plan of action in which the various supports are interconnected and working together. Peter Limbrick in the UK has an organization called Team Around the Child or TAC. This coordinated approach is used in infancy to advanced years. You can learn about TAC, events, research and more through their news service.
Wrap Canada is a relatively new organization with agencies connected to them in every province. Their mission is to support communities to successfully implement the WrapAround Process with all children, youth and adults and their families dealing with varied and complex problems so that they have better lives and can be active participants in their community. They explain that there are two key components of a WrapAround initiative. “The first is the the mobilization of the local community in which the person or family lives to provide needed in kind resources and volunteer support. There are both simple, straightforward ways to mobilize the community and there are also more comprehensive ways such as development of a Community Mobilization Team. This team of people mobilizes the community in which a person/family lives to find the in kind resources and volunteer supports that they require to have a better life and become connected to positive social networks again.
The other part of a successful WrapAround initiative is the development of a partnership at the system level amongst agencies and organizations that support the development of WrapAround initiatives at a community level. Only then can a group implement the WrapAround process with people and families struggling with multiple, complex needs to have a better life and to become part of their community.” Wrap Canada can provide training and support to make a wraparound initiative happen in a community.
The concept of wraparound services also extends into independent living for adults on the spectrum. As adults leave their parental home, they will need support for medical and dental needs, recreation, employment, nutrition, and daily living skills. How do we best meet these needs simply and under one roof? Could such a facility be located in the very building they live in or nearby?
There is a lot of great work being done in the area of wrap around services for individuals on the spectrum who often have multiple and complex needs. Be aware of this term, its principals and agencies, organizations and hospitals who follow this approach that aims to keep all team members in the loop and encourages collaboration. Several heads are better than one, or so the saying goes, and when multiple needs have to be met from a group of people, they need to coordinate and collaborate. Teamwork encourages innovation and gives a higher degree of support than everyone working on their own. Every team member will bring their area of expertise and experience to the table. Be sure to include parents and family members in this initiative as well.
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