Autistic people are likely to encounter a range of health professionals and services both during and after diagnosis. Every person is different and as such, the primary care services that will provide active benefits will vary from person to person.
Many services will liaise with each other to ensure that the correct diagnosis is made, and an appropriate support plan is both created and implemented. Here is an overview of the role some of these professionals may play.
GPs work to maintain their patients’ general health, which means they often do not provide specialist treatment or advice. They are, however, in a unique position to make important referrals to specialist health and medical professionals which is a necessity for most autistic people.
Social Worker or Care Manager
Social workers and care managers play a key role in accurately assessing the specific support needs of both autistic people and their loved ones. They also work to facilitate the specific services and teams that will meet those requirements, which can vastly improve a person’s quality of life in a relatively short period of time.
Occupational therapists work with autistic people who are experiencing problems when carrying out daily activities. They can identify sensory differences that may make certain tasks unbearable, recommend environmental adaptations, and highlight therapeutic techniques that are likely to be beneficial.
Counsellor or Psychotherapist
Concerns and issues can arise throughout life but are fairly common after receiving an autism diagnosis. Counsellors and psychotherapists can provide a range of treatments and therapies to help autistic people work through their worries and implement positive tactics to transform their everyday lives.
Outreach workers can connect autistic people with activities and opportunities that will enhance their personal growth in a myriad of ways. This may include everything from supporting an autistic person to complete a course at college to helping them to enjoy playing a favourite sport.
Some research suggests that certain lens overlays can be beneficial for autistic people. Evidence is currently limited however referral to an autism specialist and behavioural optometrist may be something deemed appropriate for some autistic people.
Residential Support Worker
For autistic adults who will benefit from residential support, teams work to ensure that supported living services allow each service user to live a rich and fulfilled life. Support plans may include speech training, peer-to-peer interaction, daily living skills, and communication and learning activities.
The Value of an Experienced Autism Specialist
An autism specialist makes a difference to the lives of autistic people every single day. Support work is an extremely rewarding profession, and no two days are ever the same.
Autistic people can display a range of complex needs, each of which needs to be comprehensively met to avoid distress. From encouraging an autistic person to take part in their favourite activity to supporting them to practise effective self-care, autism specialists work with each individual and their families to achieve positive outcomes for all.