Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Developmental Delays & Therapy: Autism

For my project, I plan to create a therapy program from a child with autism. I intend to take multiple different types of therapy and create one cohesive program for a child who has been diagnosed with autism. It would include a therapy program that the child would go through at the therapy center and a program that they would use at home with parents helping them.

I will be producing a therapy program that can be used with the therapists and a therapy program that someone can use at home with their child. I want to be able to create something that will show a cohesive version of therapy for an autistic child. I want to create a website for autism and the signs and symptoms of it and their options if they suspect their child is suffering from autism. I would also post the at-home therapy program on the website for parents.

When it comes to interdisciplinarity, there are many theories that come into play. My project will use the perspective taking theory and the common ground theory. The perspective taking theory helps me look at the different disciplines involved in creating this program and their individual viewpoints on the issue. I will be looking at the different perspectives from each individual discipline and creating one integrative therapy program for autistic children. The common ground theory is taking all the different conflicting issues and getting them onto common ground with one another. I have to take the opinions and therapies from each of the disciplines and analyze what is best for the child. This may not be in agreement with each discipline, but I need them to be in agreement and on common ground about the program.

In my project, I am including many different disciplines. I will take therapy exercises and programs from physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology therapy, and psychological therapy. With physical therapy, it will provide me with the physical aspect of the program. Children with autism are developmentally delayed and physical therapists can help children reach motor development milestones that are not occurring when they should. The physical therapist can also help children with physical problems, such as breathing control issues. Occupational therapy studies human growth and development, with a focus on the way a person interacts with the environment and objects in their environment on a daily basis. The portion of the program from the occupational therapy will focus on goals based on social interactions, behaviors, and classroom performance. Occupational therapists form a team with the parents and teachers to achieve these goals. Speech-language pathologists assess the severity of the speech problems and create a program that will benefit the child as much as possible. They use electronic “talkers” if the situation calls for it, they teach signing or typing, and show the child how to use picture boards to express feelings, such as sad or hungry. Speech-language pathologists play a huge role in the therapy program. Psychologists focus on behavioral therapy and/or medication as a treatment for autism. They will use behavioral therapy before medication is ever considered because there is no medication that specifically targets autism. Psychologists/Psychiatrists will prescribe medication only when there is extreme hyperactivity or seizures. This aspect of treatment will broaden the program and include more cognitive training.


March 23, 2015
Have at least half of my sources found

March 26, 2015
Find advisor for project

March 30, 2015
Have the rest of my sources found
April 3, 2015
Come up with questions to ask my advisor about project

April 6, 2015
Contact advisor with questions and advice about my program
April 16, 2015
Have first draft of program done
Start working on website
April 22, 2015
Contact advisor about program and make corrections

April 27, 2015
Have first draft of paper done

April 30, 2015
Have paper edited by Writing Center and make corrections
May 4, 2015
Have screencast script all planned out

May 5, 2015
Complete second draft for project paper and bring to class
May 7, 2015
Work on screencast
Finish up website
May 12, 2015
Present PowerPoint to class

Do you believe that this is a project that will benefit someone the way I want it to? Do you think that this will reach my target audience? Do you have any suggestions for my project or timeline?


  1. Catrina,
    Your topic about creating a therapy program for children with autism is great thinking because I am an educator who provides children with positive learning experiences. Special education, including autism, definitely needs to be involved with knowledge developed from multiple disciplines. I like your plan to intersect various therapy programs: physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology therapy, and psychological therapy to complete a program in your case-work. I am wondering, though, if the disciplines that you want to interrogate are actually physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology therapy, and psychological therapy, or if you are missing epistemology that you will utilize perspective taking from.
    I like your colorful time line. It was fun to read.

  2. I love the fact that you have chosen autism. It is a misunderstood topic, and bringing that to the surface can help create great knowledge for the general population. If you design a physical therapy treatment that is successful, this could be HUGE. Because there is such a broad spectrum when it comes down to autism, is there a specific area you are going to look into? That would be very interesting to see if you program works with various spectrums!

  3. Hi Catrina, I agree that this project is fascinating and has the potential to broadly applicable to many people. How might you best reach your target audience? What might be some strategies to be sure that the most needy people could use your projected online tools? -Dr. O'Donnell

  4. 1) Instead of "link," you should call the citation photo links "citation" or "photo credit" or something. "Link" makes it sound like you are asking your readers to go to that site, but really you are just trying to cite the picture.

    2) The other thing we want to address is the fact that desperate people-- parents in particular it seems to me-- will certainly find your site. We need to somehow show that you are just a student trying out some ideas and not a certified therapist, since we want to be forthright about your relative newness to this topic. At the same time, we want you to contribute something truly useful. Seems like the best way to do this is with LOTS of citations. So when you offer an idea or a plan, offer it in clear, plain English, but include links to the science and scholarship that led you to the idea or plan. Does that make sense? What you are doing is bringing together lots of perspectives from various experts in various fields, but not so much creating your own plan from your own studies or education. We can chat more about this. but I think you are off and running!

  5. Yes that makes sense! I'm excited about this project!

  6. The four steps of the Broad Model are:
    1) Define the problem or state the research question (p. 202)
    2) Justify using an interdisciplinary approach (p. 210)
    3) Identify relevant sources (p. 221)
    4) Conduct a literature search (p. 231)

    Looking at the four steps of the Broad Model, I realize that I will be using these steps throughout this project. For the first step, I need to create a research question for my project. My research question needs to be researchable in two or more disciplines to be interdisciplinary (p. 202). My project is putting together many different expertise's ideas and therapies to make a therapy program with multiple disciplines for autistic children. This will mean that my research will be interdisciplinary because of the multiple disciplines I will be pulling from.

    For step 2, I need to justify an interdisciplinary approach. Four common justifications are that the problem or research question is complex, that important insights into the problem are offered by two or more disciplines, that no single discipline has been able to address the problem comprehensively, and that the problem is an unresolved issue or unmet societal need (p. 210). Most statements make up two or more of those four common justifications. My project includes important insights from different therapy programs to make a cohesive program. Another justification I can use for my project is that one discipline cannot provide all of the therapy that an autistic child needs.

    For step 3, you need to begin with identifying disciplines that are potentially relevant to the problem and ends with few disciplines that are the most relevant (p. 221). At the beginning of this process, I went through many different disciplines finding out how they will benefit an autistic child. I found that physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and psychology were the most relevant for my project.

    For step 4, you are conducting a literature search for the project or problem. Three practices that are helpful when conducting a literature search are categorizing publications according to their disciplinary source, focusing on quality rather than quantity, and developing a data management system (p. 231-232). For the first practice, I would want to separate the different sources for each discipline into different categories. When it comes to quality instead of quantity, I want to find more insightful articles rather than finding multiple articles that don't really benefit my project. For the data management practice, I need to create a data table to keep all of my literature organized. I should include the focus of insight of each piece of literature so I remember where all of my information came from and keep it easier for me.

    1. Repko, A., Szostak, R., & Phillips Buchberger, M. (2014). Introduction to interdisciplinary studies. Los Angeles, California: SAGE Publicatons.

  7. This is an awesome project idea and it seems like you will have a lot of fun putting it together! I honestly don't really know too much about autism but I do know a lot of families that live with it and I see somewhat how it affects their lives. I also didn't know all of the therapies that went into it. I am very interested to see what your website will inform me of and I am excited to learn about autism and some therapies that will help!