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Semin Speech Lang. 2006 Feb;27(1):1-9.

Preparing speech-language pathologists as family-centered practitioners in assessment and program planning for children with autism spectrum disorder.

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  • 1Vermont Interdisciplinary Leadership Education for Health Professionals (VT-ILEHP) Program, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.


Family-centered care is a practice model that has been described in the literature for the past two decades. The evidence shows that when family-centered care is practiced, outcomes are enhanced for children with autism and other disabilities and their families and teams. This article reviews two innovative programs that practiced family-centered care in assessment and program planning for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The research indicates that the essential training elements required to transform speech-language pathologists (SLPs) from understanding family-centered care to being family-centered practitioners includes a focus on technical and leadership skills as well as a variety of experiences with families who have children with ASD. Preservice programs preparing SLPs and other health professionals must incorporate these essential elements of family-centered care training into their curricula. SLPs who are already practicing can use these key elements as a guide in seeking professional development opportunities.

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