The Importance of Inclusion in Pediatric Autism Therapy and Support Services
The world is becoming more and more inclusive every day, and it’s not just a trendy buzzword. Inclusive communities are an important part of fostering healthy relationships and reducing stigma. Let’s face it: the world of autism services can be challenging for everyone involved. Whether you are a parent, a child with autism, or an autism professional looking to build your career in this field, the stressors on all parties from the current state of affairs are clearly evident. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve things! Inclusion is one such way. A growing body of research indicates that inclusive practices have positive effects on individuals with unique needs in social situations. The time has come to take stock of where we are now as a society, and how we can make things better by being more inclusive with our support services in the future. Read on for some insight into what that means exactly…
What Does Inclusion Mean?
Inclusion is what happens when a particular individual is included in the daily life of a community. A person can be included even if they have a special need that others do not have. In general, inclusion refers to the practice of bringing individuals with various special needs into the mainstream. This does not mean that these people are given any special treatment that is not given to others in the community, but rather that these people are not segregated from the rest of society. Inclusion is about breaking down barriers, creating a sense of normalcy, and opening up the world to everyone. Inclusion is not about forcing people to do things they don’t want to do. Rather, it is about providing people with the tools they need to participate in society on their own terms.
What is the Importance of Pediatric Autism Therapy and Support Services Being Inclusive?
More children than ever are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The CDC estimates that 1 in 44 children are affected by ASD in some way, shape, or form. This is a significant increase from the 1 in 88 figure observed as recently as 2010. One of the challenges associated with this dramatic growth in the ASD community is the lack of resources and support services being provided to families. Parents are struggling to get the care their children need, and many are being forced to wait or are being denied services altogether. There is a critical need for support services that are inclusive.
Why is Pediatric Autism Therapy and Support Service Inclusion so Important?
There are many benefits associated with increasing the level of inclusivity in Autism support services. Not only does it help reduce stigma, it also helps promote a sense of normalcy in children with special needs. Inclusive practices also tend to foster healthy relationships among peers, mentors, and professionals that are integral to helping everyone achieve their full potential. Let’s take a look at a few of the specific benefits of inclusivity in Autism support services.
Promoting a sense of normalcy.
One of the best things about an inclusive approach to Autism support services is that it promotes a sense of normalcy in children with ASD. Children who are segregated from their peers often feel left out and different, which can lead to low self-esteem, poor social skills, and other problems. Inclusion gives kids with ASD opportunities to interact with their peers in a non-threatening way.
Closing the gap between theory and practice.
For professionals in the field of Autism, there is a growing need for comprehensive education and training. However, there is also a growing gap between what professionals are being taught in their courses and what families are experiencing in the field. An inclusive approach provides a bridge that helps close this gap. It also fosters collaboration, helping professionals learn from one another while also providing tools to help families tap into their own potential.
Stigma is a barrier to inclusivity, so it makes sense that reducing stigma will help promote inclusivity. Increased inclusivity helps individuals with autism feel more comfortable participating in society. This helps reduce the stigma associated with autism, making it easier for everyone to get the services they need and be part of the community.
Strategies for Improving Pediatric Autism Therapy Services for Everyone
Now that you understand the importance of inclusivity in Autism support services, it’s time to put it into practice.
The following are some ways that you can help make the Autism support services you provide more inclusive:
Be mindful of language.
It is important to be aware of any words that may be offensive when spoken or written. Be mindful of how you express yourself and how you use language to encourage an inclusive environment. It’s important to learn how to communicate with respect and sensitivity. Be conscious of your word choice and how it impacts others. If you are unsure about what language to use, ask.
Choose your mentors wisely.
One of the most important relationships you will form as a professional in the Autism support services field is the relationship with your mentor. Choose a mentor who is open to an inclusive approach, and who will help you explore the best ways to put this into practice in your daily work with clients.
Don’t force relationships.
Some professionals may tend to force relationships between individuals who really don’t want to be around each other. Don’t do this. Instead, be mindful of the needs of everyone, and provide the tools they need to create space between themselves and others if they feel this is appropriate.
The world of Autism services is changing rapidly, and it’s important that we continue to adapt our approach to suit the needs of the communities we serve. Inclusion is one important way to do this. It helps promote a sense of normalcy, closes the gap between theory and practice, and reduces stigma among all parties involved.