...(continued from Part 1)

There is also an alphabet soup of professional and educational certifications that come at the end of a service providers name.  I am an M.Ed.  I was well prepared in my Masters teaching program for curriculum development, teaching, assessment, differentiation of learning, and class management.  But by looking at my letters, you don't see that I have 22 years of experience supporting people with ASD and their families.  That M. is important but it doesn't stand for the Multitude of presentations that I have encountered from the learner who reads and writes at the 12th grade level but cannot manage his tantrum when the computer freezes to the learner who becomes sensorily overwhelmed by the wind and sun on his skin when he moves outside.  There are no degrees in understanding that a parent is exhausted from 14 years of hearing the same version of a song from their daughter or a certificate in helping parents manage the bowel issues of non-verbal tweens.   

Experience doesn't tell the whole picture either.  It is important that I learned child development and principals of behavior analysis.  I would be incredibly ineffective if I did not access that knowledge to support my families. 

But I encourage families to consider all different types of support people in their treatment teams.  Education and certification are fantastic gauges but those alphabet soup letters are not going to replace the feeling you get when a professional treats you with respect and caring.   

In addition, I encourage professionals to remember that each parent has a PhD in their kid.  They may have things that they need to do differently for themselves, their child or the rest of the family, but it doesn't mean they should not be respected as a complete expert in their child.  

Alphabet soup has its place among many other pieces of information.  ASD can rob a relationship of the natural rhythms that we have come to expect.  It is important not to rely on alphabet soup but also allow the instincts that we have about families or professionals shine through as well.  When we do that, everyone benefits.