“Don’t think that there’s a different, better child ‘hiding’ behind autism. This is your child. Love the child in front of you. Encourage his strengths, celebrate his quirks, and improve his weaknesses, the way you would with any child.”
Finding a care center for a child or a loved one with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can be challenging for some or stressful for others. The reason being a family will always want the best center as their family member deserves the best and nothing but the best. There are a number of centers that specialize in therapy for those with ASD but how do you select the best care center? Apart from referrals from your family physician or social network, we have put together a few pointers to help you along the way when doing your research.
If you are looking for the best autism care center for a family member, here are a few qualities that it must have:
Credentials - The credentials of the center as well as its staff is of utmost importance. You need to check and ask if the center has Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) on their staff. Do not go for any center that has a “BCBA Candidate” posing as the person who will oversee your child’s caseload. They have not yet sat for their credentialing exam as well as private insurance companies currently do not recognize them as providers. Plus, check the number of cases your assigned BCBA is handling. 6-12 cases at a time is ideal and any more than that may mean that quality care is not being ethically provided.
Quality Programs – The best autism center in Michigan will always prepare individualized treatment plans per the need of the client. It will include continuous monitoring, analysis of the data, and modifications to the treatment plan. The center uses evidence-based practices such as reinforcement as well as replacement behaviors for maladaptive behaviors. The center can provide measurable and quantifiable data for the results of treatment goals.
Training to Caregivers – Another important quality is that it imparts training and education to caregivers such as family members, relatives, and professional caregivers. Caregiver training is crucial so that the designated caregivers can provide optimal care without the presence of BCBAs or other therapists. The training has to be on a regular basis.
Support Structure – Another hallmark of the best autism center is that they offer support in the form of counseling or self-help groups to families and caregivers of individuals with autism. This support is not provided by all centers and thus helps to weed out the run-of-the-mill centers. Support structures provide guidance, support, and help for caregivers to prevent burnouts and address challenges faced in a family.
Innovative Programs – The best autism center will go beyond the ABA program. It will have innovative programs that interest your child such as involving music, sports, and arts, and so on. Individuals with autism benefit from a vast range of activities and the center offer them as well.
These are some qualities that the best autism center in Michigan must-have when you are selecting a center for a loved one.