What are the advantages to a multidisciplinary approach?
Simply put: Everyone is good at something, no one is good at everything.
Most children with autism see a variety of specialists: a speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, psychologist, educators, etc. Too often, these specialists work in isolation, where a given strategy or technique stops as the given session comes to an end. Isolated therapies can potentially lead to a lack of communication among therapists, a lack of follow-through on techniques that are working for a child, and ultimately a lack of generalization for the child. Although ideally, a child would spend an adequate amount of time weekly with each area specialist, with the all therapists meeting regularly to ensure follow-through and consistency within each therapy session across disciplines, this is not always possible.
However when a multidisciplinary approach is used, professionals from a variety of disciplines are able to come together, to discuss progress/goals for an individual child relevant to each discipline, along with specific intervention strategies. The multidisciplinary team is then able to examine the complex interactions between biology and experience to ultimately understand the individual child’s behavior through a developmental lens, thus enabling the team to create an individualized and comprehensive program based on the child and family’s unique developmental profile (Greenspan & Wieder, 1999).
Benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach additionally include:
Cost effective, relative to several isolated therapies
More comprehensive intervention implementation
Consistency of implementation
Team collaboration and support, leading to higher quality
Increased generalization across settings
DIR®/Floortime™ has been created by experts in the fields of pediatric medicine, developmental psychology, education, speech and language, occupational and physical therapies, making it the first truly integrated multi-disciplinary approach for children with ASD or other developmental challenges.