“One aspect of our program that’s very unique in bringing the parent into the session,” explained Kurtis Shrewsberry, a pediatric behavioral analyst with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Shrewsberry works with children diagnosed with autism. “I would look at behavior as far as what is the function, so they may engage in self-injury, aggression, or for some kind of pay off, so we look at that, and then we figure out how we can replace that with something that is more socially appropriate,” he said.
Whether it’s speech, behavioral, physical, or occupational therapies, health experts can use a variety of strategies to help children improve certain autistic behaviors. “A lot of parents they think it’s just the diagnosis and just the way that they are, but it’s a learned history, and it may take time to change that behavior, but with the right intervention and the right support, you can change the behavior,” said Shrewsberry.
While health experts work with the children, autism navigators work with the families. “What we do as navigators is we are providing different trainings, we are asking families, what’s important to you, what would you like to know,” said Jennifer Mills, an autism navigator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Navigators connect families to support groups, educate them on social events, and help them manage stress and anxiety. “The support is the big piece to know that you’re not alone. You have somebody that you can call to help you,” said Tara Tallaksen, another autism navigator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
A program that’s supported by the Naples Children and Education Foundation founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.