What follows in this report is an organizational assessment of an organization known as Society for Treatment of Autism. This assessment is broken into three major segments. The first segment is an organizational overview. The second segment is a comparison of the agency's words and mission to the empowerment model. Finally, there is an executive summary of the positive and negative implications for client and staff members of the organization.
The organization in question, as noted in the introduction, is the Society for Treatment of Autism. They are a member of the Autism Treatment Services of Canada and they are a dispenser of comprehensive treatments on a charitable basis and they get referrals via any number of methods and they take them all regardless of the source provided there is a need involved. All applicants are screened to ensure that they are appropriate for one or more of the programs that the charity offers. Per the textbook for the class, this organization is most certainly based on the human relations approach to organizations. Work is indeed a group activity and there is a substantial amount of group collaboration during the completion of work, among other examples in the textbook (STA, 2012).
Per the PowerPoint slides, they also probably operate under a traditional role of managers, staff and service users being the upward to downward path. The reason for this is that even a charity has to have a chain of command so that resources are used efficiently and there is some command and control within a person (or small group of people) that have the skill sets and the knowledge to make the right decisions. Per the structure listed for STA, it clear that there is a chain of command and duties are delegated to the different higher-end managers of the organization. For example, the executive director does the organization and planning, business concern handling, donations, the media and service clubs (STA, 2012).
Agency vs. Empowerment Model
This leads into the empowerment model comparison, and the Society for Treatment of Autism certainly follows that as well. For example, the empowerment text makes reference on page 24 to putting actual clients on the board of directors. There doesn't seem to be a mention of that in the organization's literature, but it is exceedingly clear that the patient and the patient's parents are intimately involved in the treatments and the treatments are completely and utterly catered to the individual situation, as opposed to a cookie-cutter treatment plan being used across the board or, at the very least, in too many different situations (Hardina, 2005).
The same empowerment article also notes that for empowerment to occur, there must be "direct participation" in the decision making of the organization. At least relative to the treatments for the autism-stricken children, that is absolutely happening even if the title is not official. As far as management structure as it relates to the empowerment model and the STA's setup, the words above regarding the client involvement obviously involves the staff members as well because they are all part of the same structure and process. Guidelines and patterns to follow are offered by management and then the staff works together with the client to get an amenable outcome to all involved, so it truly a joint effort and not all of the people involved are actual employees (Hardina, 2005).
Empowerment overall is key when dealing with something like autism and this is true nearly equally for the parents and for the child patients themselves. Kids that are autistic or otherwise challenged are often targeted by bullies and obviously treated differently due to their struggle and this is emblematic of a segment of society that is truly rolling back progress for autistic kids. Society as a whole should do what they can to empower autistic kids and kids in similar situations. To their credit, some people in society with no skin in the game do this already but it would be very helpful if more would do so (Hardina, 2005).
Something that is absolutely not going on is a Theory X situation where the staff and management are not engaged and are just looking for ways to coast by and not do their work. People in charitable outfits like the STA do not think or operate that way. This is not an organization that is bound by heavy authority and rigid guidelines. It is true that there are general patterns and templates that can and should be followed and this is consistent with good medical/therapeutic practice. However, it is also clear that people are not being treated like numbers and every situation is treated as unique, which is as it should be (Hardina, 2005).
It is perhaps quite sad that enough people take such a view of organizations at large that there had to be a name put to it. Part of the problem is that some charities are run extremely poorly or are used as vehicles to enrich the leaders and operators of the charity. Noble charities such as the STA suffer due to derelicts and disgusting/vile people like this but it is something the STA has to deal with. It is an unfortunate habit of many to lump charities together when one or two does wrong.
Positive/Negative Implications for Clients & Staff
The author of this assessment has a decent amount of feedback to offer for positive and negative implications. Clearly, it's a positive that the managers, the staff and the employees all work in concert as it relates to drafting and crafting treatment plans and the staff/clients are intimately involved as the treatment plan is being executed. However, the news relating to this is not always going to be good and there are a number of reasons for that.
First, managing an autism-stricken child is a 24/7 proposition. It is not something that can be simply dropped when the child goes home for the weekend or the evening. It is imperative that the parent not rely too heavily on the treatment plans as being the sole source of treatment because the treatments need to be reinforced and consistent with home life and if the parent just checks out, it will slow down the child's progress, if not cause them to regress. It is akin to a person who acts all high and mighty during church service and then acts completely different when they are not in the sanctuary. This is not an entirely analogous sort of ideal, but one probably gets the point that the author is making here.
Second, some parents are given some rather bad information relating to diseases and disorders. For example, it is a common urban legend (and never proven) that vaccines cause autism and not giving a child (autistic or not) a vaccine can be dangerous to deadly. This sort of ignorance can manifest itself in other ways, including parents not going with the professionals as to what treatment is necessary and why. It is true that the parents have much more exposure to the children and how they act, but professionals that have fully analyzed and assessed what is going on will probably have a stronger grasp of what is truly happening than the parent and the parent should not sabotage or inhibit a treatment plan (on site or at home) just because they think the doctor or staff member is wrong.
Another potential negative implication is tight resources and money for the organization, especially during economically tough times. This can put a strain on parents who have to be turned away and/or cannot be given the treatment depth and breadth options for their children that they could or should be given under normal circumstances. Also, it can be a strain on the front-line staff to have to operate with less than optimal resources and perhaps not being able to care enough for accepted clients or to be able to accept all the clients that could or should be would probably present a problem to the employees.
A last negative implication that should be noted is that society takes a fairly ignorant and/or punitive view of autistic children and this is also true for other variants of autism such as Asperger's and the like. Many assume these children to be dumb and/or truly mentally disabled on par with brain-damaged people and that is simply not the case. That line of thought is not acceptable in any similar situation but it's exceedingly cruel to pigeon-hole autistic kids. Down Syndrome children have it even worse, at times. It is important and key for the STA and similar agencies and advocates to inform the public and openly condemn people when they speak out of line and say ignorant and damaging things. This is especially true of people in positions of power and prestige such as business leaders and politicians.
As for a few positive implications, the camaraderie and common purpose of all of the people involved, the clients and…