The Challenge and Importance of Differentiating Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders from Autism Spectrum Disorders
Through a case vignette, the authors explore the significant diagnostic, systemic, and parental psychological challenges in arriving at an appropriate diagnosis and service plan for children presenting with (often overlapping) symptoms of ASD and TSRD. The supports that are available for children with a diagnosis of ASD are often designed to help families access therapeutic skill builders or support workers that can help teach social skills and pragmatic language skills; resources are offered to provide respite for families. Conversely, children with a TSRD will benefit most from being engaged in therapy with their primary caregiver, thus making outside skill builders and respite care providers less effective for achieving long term goals. While a personal support worker may reduce the amount of time that a child has to build a predictable and secure relationship with their caregiver, the challenge is that parents with a child with a TSRD may be similarly tired as parents of a child with ASD from managing behaviors and would themselves benefit from respite.
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