HDC Spotlight: Family-Centered Values at the ASDID Clinic

The Human Development Center is committed to increasing access to quality services for underserved families. One such way is through the Autism Spectrum Disorders Interdisciplinary Diagnostic (ASDID) clinic, which provides outstanding services to families of children suspected of having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As an interdisciplinary clinic, the ASDID team consists of the family and professionals from different disciplines who work together to engage in best practices for ruling in/ruling out an ASD diagnosis. The ASDID clinic also provides recommendations for services and support for families who have children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD.

“Of course, the most important member of the team is the family.”

Nadia Johnson, LOTR, ASDID Clinic Coordinator and Occupational Therapist

The ASDID team centers the family’s experiences in all aspects of the process, and includes a social worker, psychologist, speech-language pathologist, early interventionist, and occupational therapist. A team-based approach ensures that the collective observations of the family and professionals are integrated into a single-day process rather than a series of appointments with various professionals conducting individual diagnostic sessions. Whether it’s unique training or a personal relationship with the child, each ASDID evaluator has their own expertise that influences the diagnostic process. Their perspectives are shared with the team in real-time so they may all see a bigger picture of the child’s strengths and needs.  

Families are active participants in the ASDID process to ensure that the evaluation is family-centered.  ASDID Speech-Language Pathologist, Brittney Wright, MCD, CCC-SLP states, “Our core values include family-centered care and strengths-based assessment and planning. These values are honored by having the family actively participate in the ASDID process. We know they are the expert in their child’s life. We really listen and hear the family’s perspectives, priorities, and concerns.”

By involving the family at the center of the evaluation, ASDID team clinicians become aware of the unique strengths of each child that may not be apparent in a clinical setting. In addition, this approach provides families a greater understanding of the needs of their child, opportunities to build on the strengths of their child, and potential resources families can incorporate into the individualized support plan. The ASDID clinicians develop a support plan in collaboration with the family to provide referrals and steps to enhance the child’s development and learning.

Simply put, the ASDID diagnostic report is personalized for each family. The ASDID team examines the family’s resources and supports already in place (e.g. finances, transportation, insurance) and provides referrals and recommendations based upon the family’s priorities, strengths, and support needs.

Clinic Coordinator and Occupational Therapist Nadia Johnson, LOTR, ASDID continues, “Having all critical members of a team together in the same evaluation and collaborating with the family ensures that the family’s priorities, strengths, and needs can be addressed at the same time while incorporating the family’s perspectives.”

So far in this fiscal year, the ASDID clinic has served eight children and their families. The clinic has also served as a clinical experience for 9 graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology (6), Psychology (2), and Public Health (1).

“We want to get families connected with the supports and referrals they need so we can set them up to be on a trajectory that will lead them to have the best possible outcomes.”

Brittney Wright, MCD, CCC-SLP, ASDID Speech-Language Pathologist