Behavioral Health Nursing
Nursing staff with extensive experience and training in ASD/DD work side by side with the medical staff to address the common medical co-morbidity found in youth with ASD/DD such as seizures, insomnia, gastric and balance issues. Nursing staff also provide physical and mental health treatments and assessments as well as providing necessary medication administration.
Medications And Pharmaceutical Management To Help Manage Behavioral And Psychiatric Stemming From Autism and Related Disorders
Our staff includes a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications for autism related behavioral and psychiatric issues as well as an in-house pharmacy led by a licensed pharmacist. When it comes to “treating autism with medicine”, there is no one-size-fits-all solution—none of the most frequently prescribed medicines are effective for every individual, or for every symptom associated with autism spectrum disorder. Understanding how different drugs react to each other, how they work together to relieve the symptoms of autism, and how they affect each patient is a process that is both a science and an art.
Finding The Right Medications For Autism
Treating autism with medicine to address behavioral problems is most effective when the treatment is individualized and when it is used in conjunction with Applied Behavior Analysis and other therapies. Ideally, medication should be a support to other treatment methods rather than the main strategy for treating the symptoms associated with autism, including anxiety, communication social difficulties, repetitive behaviors as well as aggressive, self-injury and other maladaptive behaviors. Our fellowship-trained psychiatrist specializes not only in the treatment of behaviors common in autism spectrum disorder He has years of experience in recognizing and effectively treating symptoms through both therapies and medicine. In coordination with our two BCBAs and the rest of the Autism Program staff, our psychiatrist carefully monitors behaviors and reactions in order to fine-tune a completely customized and minimal drug intervention protocol for each patient.
Autism And Medication: Treating Other Conditions
The initial medical diagnosis can also be incomplete. There is a tendency to think that every behavioral issue that a child with autism exhibits is a direct result of the autism diagnosis, but, in many cases, this is an incorrect assumption. Frequently, children with autism have multiple conditions contributing to their behavior, including OCD, trauma, PTSD, seizure disorders, and even physical pain that they are unable to vocalize, resulting in self-destructive behaviors. For example, a child who continually bangs her head against the wall may be suffering from migraines, while a child who repeatedly beats on his own chest may be suffering from acid reflux disease. In situations like these, trying to treat the behavior without dealing with the underlying issue, such as medically-treatable pain, will be fruitless. By continually observing and getting to know your child as an individual, talking with family members and meeting regularly with other team members, our team is able to tailor a pharmaceutical regimen that gets to the root cause of the issue rather than merely masking symptoms.
Our Team Of Experts
Amy Stewart, RN, MSN, PMHNP-BC
PRTF Nurse Manager
I have lived in the Upstate for a majority of my life. I have always wanted to be a nurse and work in the medical field helping others. I obtained a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and an associate's degree in nursing from Tri-County Tech. I began working at Springbrook in 2012 as a registered nurse. After 6 years I decided to go back and obtain my BSN. After obtaining that degree I received my MSN and became a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. All of my clinical training was under Dr. Fisher learning about Autism Spectrum Disorder and the medications used to treat the symptoms of ASD. I am currently working on the PRTF, the Acute Assesment and Stabilization unit, and in the outpatient clinic. I look forward to growing in this new role and being a part of the great team at Springbrook.