How to choose the right service providers
Parents take the lead in prioritizing therapy goals for their child and deciding which services to use. This can be overwhelming, so feel free to contact an Autism Support Specialist to find out what you should do next. They have time to chat about your needs and provide guidance at any level: AutismInformation@gov.bc.ca | 1 844 878-4700.
The Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP) is a list of professionals who have the experience and education to offer programs for children with autism. If your child is under six and you want to use autism funding to pay for services, you need to choose service providers from the RASP.
Types of service providers
Behaviour consultant (BC)
Assess child development and behaviour by interviewing parents and observing activities at home
Design and implement a behaviour plan of intervention to address challenging behaviour or develop verbal, social, or daily living skills
Coach parents and others on the best ways to provide support
Have education and experience in the field of applied behaviour analysis
Some behaviour consultants are also behaviour analysts
Speech-language pathologist (SLP)
Develop communication skills – for example, how to have conversations or joint interactions and how to understand speech and language
Introduce communication tools (augmentative or alternative communication tools)
Help with oral motor skill development including eating, drinking and swallowing
Provide assessment, diagnosis or consultation
Are registered with the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC
Occupational therapist (OT)
Help children participate in everyday activities such as play, dressing, grooming, feeding, sleeping, toileting, school readiness, printing, keyboarding, social skills, ability to cope and work
Address motor, perceptional, social, or sensory challenges through skill development or by making changes to environmental factors
Provide assessment, diagnosis and consultation
Are registered with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia
Physical therapist (PT)
Help children understand how and why movement and function take place so that they can improve and maintain mobility, functional independence, physical performance and overall health and wellness
Assist with managing physical conditions, limitations or restrictions
Provide diagnostic assessments and implement strategies for improvement
Are registered with the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia
Behaviour interventionist (BI)
Implement strategies outlined in a behaviour plan of intervention designed by a supervising professional – they do not design or adjust intervention plans
Behaviour interventionists can work with your child in various settings to help them build life skills. For example, they can ride the bus together, go to the park, take swimming lessons, etc.
Applied behaviour analysis (ABA)
Developmental social pragmatic approaches
Therapy that is based on the principles of typical development and how children learn to interact. The goal is to improve the child’s ability to form positive, meaningful relationships with other people and develop functional skills.
Naturalistic developmental behavioural interventions
A combination of applied behaviour analysis and developmental social pragmatic approaches. The emphasis is on developmentally-appropriate skills that involve shared control between the adult and child.
Find out more about different types of therapy and support:
- ACT's Autism Manual for B.C. – Chapter 2
- Autism Community Training (ACT): Videos
- Best Practices in Early Intervention: An Update by Dr. Karen Bopp
- Interacting with Autism
- Provincial Autism Program for Autism and Related Disorders
- Thriving in Youth with ASD: By Dr. Jonathan Weiss