Cross-disciplinary working in autism to promote positive outcomes

Preece, D. (Author)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Successful cross-disciplinary working (directly with families and in interactions to address the needs of individuals and families) has long been identified as a vital component of effective programmes across education, public health and social care (Early and GlenMaye, 2000; MacKean et al., 2005; Milbourne, 2005). Where families include children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), the importance of working in partnership is increased (Dempsey and Keen, 2008; Pelchat and Lefebvre, 2004).
Service providers and agencies are increasingly required to work in partnership with each other and with families: for example, in England and Wales, through the joint development of Education, Health and Care Plans for children with SEND (Department for Education, 2014).
The importance of effective, coordinated cross-disciplinary support is further heightened in the case of families that include children with autism. This is due to a number of factors, including:
• the elevated stress and anxiety that autism can cause within families (Bitsika and Sharpley, 2004)
• the ineffectiveness of typical parenting strategies (Matson et al., 2009; Preece and Trajkovski, 2017)
• professionals’ lack of understanding regarding autism (Preece and Jordan, 2007; Rhoades et al., 2007; Trajkovski and Jurtoski, 2016).
This paper draws upon my research over the past 15 years – and professional practice over an even longer period – to identify factors that contribute to successful cross-disciplinary working in autism, and which can support positive outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum. These factors include
• worker attributes, including their professional competence (Peeters and Jordan, 1999)
• the development of meaningful partnerships, and working to a shared agenda levels (Lester et al., 2008; Sloper, 2004)
• supporting the individual and/or family to develop agency and self-efficacy (Preece and Almond, 2008; Turnbull et al., 2014)
• appropriate, individualised support (Russa et al., 2015; Whitaker and Preece, 2013).
Period19 Feb 2020
Event titleUniversity of St Cyril and Methodius International Week 2020: Innovation in Humanities and Social Sciences
Event typeConference
LocationSkopje, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of


  • Family