said. "If no one understands what you want, you are going to get angry."
* Communicate your child's personality with educators and clinicians as often as possible. Parents know a child's likes, dislikes and breaking points better than anyone. Tipping professionals off to a child's joys and quirks can help them plan a tailored program.
* Remember that you have the final say in how your child is served. If, after an appropriate amount of time, you feel that a particular approach is not working or that your child is not progressing quickly enough, ask for a change. "A good educator and clinician will always be willing to try different avenues," Wendt said.
* Don't fall for hype. Use recommendations from professional organizations, autism centers and support groups and scientifically valid resources to ensure that your child's education is being carried out with proven practices.
"Because autism spectrum disorders are still such an enigma, there are a lot of unsupported quick-fix approaches out there," Wendt said. "Go with treatments that are empirically supported and well-researched."
* Use tact when communicating your concerns with professionals. Even if you disagree with their methods, most teachers and clinicians want the same thing you do - the best possible education and treatment for your child.
"We're making a strong effort to educate future teachers and clinicians about the most up-to-date and proven methods for treating children with autism spectrum disorders," Wendt said. "Sometimes, teachers who have been in education for a while rely on school policy or gut feelings to formulate their approaches. If you want to try something else, show them the research and acknowledge that you are both working toward a common goal."
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