"Good, Great, Awesome:" The all-in-one interdisciplinary experience

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Garcia, Audrey
Martindale, Lexie
Ott, Drew
Thimesch, Mackenzie
Williams, Ryleigh
Shelden, M'Lisa

Garcia, Audrey; Martindale, Lexie; Ott, Drew; Thimesch, Mackenzie; Williams, Ryleigh. 2023. "Good, Great, Awesome:" The all-in-one interdisciplinary experience. -- In Proceedings: 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University


INTRODUCTION: The Wichita State University (WSU) Autism Interdisciplinary Diagnostic Team (AIDT) began in the spring of 2012. Students and healthcare professionals of AIDT have provided evaluation services to dozens of young children suspected of having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and their families in Kansas. As a part of AIDT, students from seven different health professions programs at WSU, including physical therapy are provided hands-on learning experiences to recognize characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. Although the foundation of the AIDT program at WSU provides experiences to multiple healthcare disciplines, limited data exists to support the type of influences the experience has on the physical therapy students directly participating on the interdisciplinary team. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine how attending an autism interdisciplinary diagnostic team evaluation session influences the learning experiences of physical therapy students. METHODS: The study included first and second year students from the Department of Physical Therapy at Wichita State University who are observing AIDT evaluations. Using convenience sampling, participants in the AIDT evaluations at Wichita State University were approached by research team members regarding their interest in participating in the study. If interested, the students were contacted via their student email or phone number provided. Students participating in the study received a pre-questionnaire one week prior to their AIDT evaluation observation and the post-questionnaire the same day following the observation. Those who completed the post questionnaire were chosen for follow-up interviews based on their interest to discuss the evaluation experience. The follow up interviews were conducted within one week after the participants' observation date. RESULTS: After two semesters, a participant sample of 14 students from the physical therapy department qualified for follow-up interviews. All 14 students were interviewed about their experience regarding how the AIDT evaluation influenced their views of interdisciplinary teamwork. Out of the 14 students interviewed, there was one-hundred percent consensus that more opportunities for interdisciplinary care at WSU would be beneficial. The process of the AIDT evaluation was described positively "effective" by all 14 participants. The themes found by the research team indicated 12 of the 14 students specifically mentioned "good teamwork" throughout the AIDT evaluation, 12 of the 14 students mentioned how helpful it was to receive information from "multiple perspectives" of different health professions, 13 of the 14 students mentioned how "helpful" the AIDT process was for the parents of the children being evaluated, and 11 out of the 14 students mentioned the benefit for parents attending an "all in one" evaluation. CONCLUSION: As mentioned previously, little research data have been collected regarding the influence that an interdisciplinary experience such as AIDT evaluations can have on graduate level physical therapy students overall learning. Students involved in the AIDT evaluations expressed significant positive effects on their learning experiences through observation of interdisciplinary evaluations of young children suspected of having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

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Presented to the 19th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 14, 2023.
Research completed in the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions.