This week, Rachel interviews Megan Roberts, an Associate Professor and SLP at Northwestern University. Megan started the Early Intervention Research Group, where she researches early parent-implemented interventions for children with hearing loss, autism, and developmental language disorders. Megan has lots to share about her research behind parent-implemented interventions, early behaviors that are a predictors of autism, and how to approach conversations with parents about their child's possible autistic-like behaviors.
Before the interview, Chris and Rachel discuss a listener’s email about a difficult situation with an administrator. When the listener requested a high-tech AAC device for a minimally-verbal student, her school administrator told her she needed to give him low-tech AAC, because there was no way to get the student high-tech AAC. Rachel and Chris talk about how this administrator was stepping out of their role, and how Rachel and Chris would approach the situation to push back against this.
Key ideas this week:
🔑 Megan’s most robust predictor of autism in her assessments have been the presence of contact gestures, e.g., the person uses another person’s body part as a tool.
🔑 When we notice possible signs of autism in a young child and want to discuss this with parents, focus on identifying the behaviors that might interfere with learning rather than the “autism” label. Then, you can “wonder” about those behaviors with the parent, how they might impact the student, and how these maladaptive behaviors might be suppressed via intervention.
🔑 Girls with autism can present very differently than boys with autism early in their development - we need more research to better define what the differences are.
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