Background philosophies to the outreach service model
SNAA was one of the first 100% outreach companies to exist in Melbourne dedicating its support to autistic children (age ranging from 0 years to 12 years), their families and team surrounding the child. SNAA provides its therapy to your child either in your family home or your child’s early learning or school environment. Susanne Nelson formed this therapy model as a sole clinician in 2006, as she believed therapy should be delivered in the child’s natural setting where their needs are often the greatest.
In her clinical experience, Susanne has found that therapy is most effective when “A teaching teacher model” and ‘team approach’ is applied with the child’s parents, carers and or educators in the appropriate setting. This model ensures that your child not only learns the skills in the environment that is required, but also provides the carers/educators with the professional knowledge and strategies that can be carried over and implemented, after each therapy session has been conducted. SNAA always respects where each team member is within their own journey and how they bring their own skill set, passion, importance and support to the team.
SNAA practices best practice by utilising a “Family Centred Practice” framework, and incorporates their interests in a variety of highly structured and integrated approaches including and not limited to, cognitive behavioural/affective training, anxiety management, social skills and sensory modulation when working with your child and family. SNAA Therapists are committed to continued professional development to ensure we are always following the appropriate guidelines and good practice principles for ASD interventions.
SNAA utilises a Person-Environment-Occupational Performance model when assessing and treating your child. This enables the therapist to always appreciate how the environment can positively and or negatively influence your child’s ability to function successfully within that social learning space. By doing this, we maximise the opportunity to ‘nip things in the bud’ as situations arise for your child and gain a greater appreciation of the barriers and influencing factors contributing to your child’s occupational performance. This ensures therapy is relevant, current and supports your child’s sense of security, contentment and calmness within this environment. It also provides that immediate support for your child’s educators.
As members of a child’s team, to practice best practice, is to ensure we are all adopting a ‘strengths-based approach’ within our parenting, teaching and therapy. To fully conceptualise and implement the necessary strategies with the home and educational environment, team members will gain a better understanding of the autistic child’s ‘occupational profile’. An occupational profile provides information about the impact of ASD can have on a child’s development and function, but includes their strengths, motivators and interests.
Communication and consideration of the learning environment
The team at SNAA is committed to providing a consistent, comprehensive and efficient therapy program for you and your child. We pride ourselves on the unique way in which we deliver a high level of communication and dedication to your child, your family and other important members of the therapy / educational team on an ongoing basis.
Your child’s team members require effective communication with one another throughout the journey with your family. They also need to respect and gain awareness of the impact on the environment on the child’s ability to function and participate within their social learning environments.
SNAA therapists continually taking these factors into consideration, to support your child’s team to work together to learn and implement practical strategies into their everyday interactions with autistic children, in order to maximise your child’s independence and success.
Commitment to a team approach and support of all team members
SNAA have a well-established network of referring leading industry professionals within the ASD field, (e.g. paediatricians, psychologists and speech pathologists), who acknowledge our expertise in the delivery of such services, but also are often the professionals we refer our children to for additional support if required.
Our outreach service delivery model, enables SNAA Therapists to provide ongoing support to your child’s educators to enable the implementing of functional strategies back into the classroom / school yard and also support other professionals’ strategies to be generalised across to this environment.
Needs Assessment Process (NAP)
ASD is a complex disorder, and its impact on a child’s development can be very significant. Comes with understanding its complexity, is requiring the multifaceted support needs, surrounding the child and their family. SNAA developed its own Needs Assessment Process in response to the National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Australia, NDIS eligibility and review criteria to maximise support for the child, and need to integrate best practice principles for outreach Occupational Therapy intake.
The NAP consists of two stages:
1. Information gathering
2. Support planning
Clinical interviews and observations of the child within the home and school environments;
Information is clinically reasoned to form the child’s occupational profile.
Click here to view an outline of the Needs Assessment Process.
SNAA’s NAP was chosen as an e-poster to be presented at the National Occupational Therapy conference in Melbourne (2020). It has also been chosen as a virtual ePoster spotlight at Occupational Therapy National Conference (Cairns 2021).
A proposed therapy plan and goal sheet is devised and rated by the family. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) is completed prior to therapy commencing.
At SNAA, we pride ourselves in providing a comprehensive, intensive and fun-filled therapy environment for your child and family. The Therapists work very closely with you, your child and all team members within your child’s care. In order to achieve this, we set up a “Student/ Parent Support Group email” system, whereby all team members (with your consent), can get access to our therapy progress notes after each therapy session has been conducted. This is a way for all members to continually share knowledge and information about your child’s therapy program and coupled with the “teaching the teacher model”, contributes to your child’s ability to generalise the skills across all settings.
To ensure we are working towards family centred goals and achieving outcomes for your child, each child has their own termly goal sheet, (devised initially from their proposed therapy plan upon intake). Using the COPM (an evidence-based outcome measure), the therapists are able to capture the child’s self-perception of their performance and the importance they place on achieving outcomes within targeted activities.
The SNAA Therapists regularly updates each team member regarding your child’s goals after each therapy session, and then provides a termly update at the conclusion of each school term. Here the families have the choice and control to decide on ongoing goals as recommended by their SNAA therapist and or suggest alternatives if new ones have arisen.