Enlisting the Support of Agency Executive Staff

As also discussed in Chapter 3, An Evidence-Based Protocol for Improving the Meaningful Utility of Center-Based Activities, the clinician should enlist the support of key executive staff within the agency. Hence, before beginning the training and supervision process, the clinician should schedule a meeting with agency executive staff to attempt to obtain their support. The meeting should focus on accomplishing three objectives.

The first objective is to inform agency executives regarding the rationale for why activity changes are necessary (assuming the clinician has observed the existence of nonmeaningful activities within the center). The rationale should be based on the information presented in Chapters 1 and 2, Historical Challenges and Needed Improvements in Center-Based Services for Adults With Autism and Current Professional Consensus Regarding Meaningful Activities, about common concerns with how center-based services impact life quality among agency consumers. The essence of the rationale is reviewed in the following illustration. Additionally, the clinician should share the previously collected monitoring data (see chapter: Assessing Meaningful Versus Nonmeaningful Task Participation) with the executives and discuss why it is valuable to change the nonmeaningful activities to meaningful ones. It is likewise helpful to discuss how the desired changes will align with the values and mission of the agency, as well as meeting any possible legal, accreditation, or reporting standards expected with the agency’s services.

The second objective is to briefly outline the process necessary for making changes in agency services (as described in subsequent sections of this chapter). Executive staff should be made aware of the need for changes in various activities currently provided as well as potential funding to finance material purchases. It should also be noted that in most cases though, additional costs are rarely substantial. Often, materials indigenous to the places where center participants live, work, and play can be utilized rather than purchasing new materials. However, expecting that no additional costs will be incurred if major changes in the activities are needed is somewhat unrealistic.

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