Highlighting Autism Awareness

The Division of MCH Workforce Development is responsible for overall leadership of Autism CARES Act activities, which are cross-divisional efforts. The goal of the program is to improve the health of children, youth and adults who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), or are at risk for, neurodevelopmental or related disabilities. The program uses a set of complementary strategies that raise awareness, reduce barriers to services, develop guidelines for interventions, support intervention research, and train professionals to meet the very specialized diagnostic and service needs of this population of children. In addition to leadership activities, the training activities are accomplished through the interdisciplinary MCH Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) and Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) programs.

Learn more about HRSA/MCHB's investments under the Autism CARES Act on the MCHB Autism webpage.

Division Highlights

DMCHWD is pleased to highlight Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month in April by highlighting the work of our grantees and trainees, as well as upcoming autism-related events.


MCH Timeline websiteMCH Timeline

In October of 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." campaign to promote the early identification of children with developmental disabilities and improve families' abilities to obtain needed services and support. Learn more about autism-related points in history and more on the MCH Timeline.


Grantee Highlights

Susan Horky, LCSW, Receives an MCHB Director's Award

Congratulations to Susan Horky, LCSW for receiving a MCHB Director's Award during the Title V AMCHP Partnership Meeting on February 18, 2021.

Susan earned this prestigious recognition as a result of her longstanding dedication and support for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in Florida, specifically as related to pediatric pulmonary and sleep health, as well as her outstanding commitment to interdisciplinary training across the maternal and child health (MCH) workforce.

Throughout her career, Susan has been actively engaged in developing the next generation of MCH leaders through the Pediatric Pulmonary Centers (PPC) program, advancing shared goals around interdisciplinary training, family leadership and promoting diversity on the MCH workforce. In particular, she has been a leader in advancing systems for children and youth with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a thought leader on transition care for CYSHCN, and an advocate in promoting models of interdisciplinary, culturally competent, family-centered care in Florida, throughout the region, and in the national arena.

Susan Horky recently retired as the PPC co-Project Director and Social Work Faculty at the University of Florida (UF) where she served in this role since 1998.  Under her leadership, the UF PPC trained approximately 180 long-term trainees, 1,300 medium-term trainees, and 650 short-term trainees.

Susan was the driving force behind the creation of Making Lifelong Connections (MLC), a national trainee-focused conference that connects current and former MCH trainees across programs, leveraging their impact for the vulnerable population they serve.  MLC have evolved into a training program-wide conference, now in its 11th year. Under her leadership, UF's PPC demonstrated commitment to developing and strengthening leadership for Florida's system of care for children with special healthcare needs.

MCHB recognizes Susan Horky for her career-long commitment to training an interdisciplinary and culturally competent MCH professionals and leaders in support of our nation's mothers, children, and families.

Congratulations Susan!

PMHCA Programs Support Children with ASD/DD and Their Families

The Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) Program promotes behavioral health integration into pediatric primary care using telehealth. State or regional networks of pediatric mental health teams provide tele-consultation, training, technical assistance, and care coordination for pediatric primary care providers to diagnose, treat, and refer children with mental and behavioral health conditions, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD).


NC-PAL Intellectual/Developmental Disability Program

Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program - The North Carolina Psychiatry Access Line (NC-PAL)

Even when children and young adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) are connected to a primary care medical home, there are often unmet needs and confusion about how to best provide the medical and mental health care needed by these individuals and their families. Family members of individuals with I/DD in North Carolina and nationally report high levels of frustration with health care and IDD system navigation.

NC-PAL I/DD is an extension of the North Carolina Psychiatry Access Line (NC-PAL) Program, which offers provider-to-provider consultation to the primary care workforce around pediatric and perinatal behavioral health needs. NC-PAL I/DD is a partnership between Duke University Department of Psychiatry, North Carolina Systemic Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources and Treatment (NC START START), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Pediatrics, and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD).

The goals of NC-PAL I/DD are to:

  1. Provide telephone-based psychiatry consultation to Primary Care Providers and behavioral health teams caring for individuals from 3 to 22 years of age.
  2. Offer education around identification of local behavioral health resources, educational advocacy, linkage to vocational rehabilitation, information on guardianship and supportive decision making, as well as guidance on screening forms and referral processes.
  3. Implement multi-modal evaluations of children with complex needs by a multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist, pediatrician, psychologist, and neurologist through partnership with NC START.
  4. Incorporate family partners with lived experience who are able to provide expertise in care navigation.
  5. Compliment reactive telephone consultation and education with proactive case identification using administrative data to identify practices and providers serving children with I/DD diagnoses that might benefit from consultation.

Exploring ASD through the Lenses of Lived Experience

Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program

Pictured, left to right: Mark S. Borer, MD, Sarah B Mallory, PhD, and Brian Freedman, PhD

The Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program (DCPAP) funded by HRSA under the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families' (DSCYF) Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (DPBHS) hosted a 2 part training series in cooperation with the School of Education and the Center for Disabilities Studies with the University of Delaware.  Presented by: Mark S. Borer, MD, Brian Freedman, PhD, & Sarah B Mallory, PhD

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Presentation, Best Practice and the Parent Perspective (archived training session part 1) provided an overview for primary care providers, behavioral health and education professionals around the prevalence and core characteristics of ASD and sensory processing differences.  Participants were introduced to screening and diagnostic measures, evidence-based practices, national and local resources.  The parent perspective provided the need to consider the person beyond the diagnosis, the benefit of parent participation in treatment planning and the rationale for real life applicability of best practices and interventions when supporting patients and families.

Autism and Mental Health (archived training session part 2) encouraged participants to utilize current prevalence rates of common mental health challenges among people with ASD when evaluating patients and families.  Identification of symptoms and characteristics of mental health challenges among people with ASD aided in determining potential comorbid diagnoses and treatment options.  Providing the perspective of a young adult diagnosed with Autism and additional mental health needs, illuminated the broad spectrum that is ASD and frequent comorbidities.  This session helped providers consider the common challenges faced by people with ASD and their families during the diagnosis and treatment process. 
Mallory, S.B., Freedman, B., Borer, M., and the Center for Disabilities Studies Team. (2021). Autism Spectrum Disorder: Presentation, Best Practice, and the Parent Perspective. Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program Training Series.
Freedman, B., Borer, M., Mallory, S.B., and the Center for Disabilities Studies Team. (2021). Autism and Mental Health. Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program Training Series.


Consultation Line Supports Mental Health Care in Kansas Youth with Autism

KSKidsMAP – A Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

Psychiatric symptoms in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis have often been attributed to autism rather than to a distinct psychiatric disorder. Evidence indicates that people with ASD experience depression at rates four times greater than the general population, and that other mental disorders are also common. Research shows treatment interventions effective for psychiatric disorders are also effective, albeit when modified, for people with ASD.

Kansas Kids Mental Health Access Program (KSKidsMAP) is a recipient of HRSA's Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program grant. KSKidsMAP increases primary care practitioners' (PCP) capacity to identify and treat behavioral health conditions through various supports including a toll-free Consultation Line. Two case consultations received by the KSKidsMAP team illustrate the impact expert consultation recommendations can have for effective treatment of psychiatric symptoms in patients with ASD.
Following COVID-19 related school shutdowns, KSKidsMAP received a call from a PCP concerning a patient with ASD. Prior to the pandemic, the patient had done well with home and school supports and had no history of psychiatric illness. Inability to attend school caused significant distress requiring multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and psychotropic medications. Her PCP consulted KSKidsMAP for recommendations regarding next steps in management. Follow up with the child's PCP revealed that the patient had improved significantly with increased school-based resources and was able to titrate down on the psychotropic medications.

A second case highlighting the synergy between KSKidsMAP and a PCP managing a child with autism involved an adolescent who had been recently diagnosed with ASD. This patient presented with exacerbation of a tic disorder and a co-occurring anxiety disorder in addition ASD. Recommendations were provided for tic focused cognitive behavioral therapy, medication interventions and school and community resources.

The increasing prevalence of the ASD diagnosis and shortage of specialists requires PCPs to care for many of these patients in their own practices. The KSKidsMAP Pediatric Mental Health Team has expertise in treating ASD allowing for evidenced based, interdisciplinary advice to PCPs on biopsychosocial interventions for children and adolescents with ASD and co-occurring psychiatric disorders, further improving access to quality care for this patient population.

Michigan Team Develops Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategies for Delivery of ABA Therapy to Children with Autism During a Pandemic

Michigan LEND Program (MI-LEND), at the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI UCEDD) at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ways that human service providers deliver therapy while maintaining health and safety. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an example of one type of therapy that can be challenging to deliver safely during the pandemic. Although challenging, it is very important to maintain therapy for people with ASD to help them achieve long term life goals. To address this challenge, a team of Michigan ABA providers, leadership from the Autism Alliance of Michigan, and faculty from the Michigan LEND (MI-LEND) program came together during the Summer of 2020. The result of this collaboration was a toolkit designed to help Michigan ABA providers safely deliver therapy to children with ASD during the pandemic. The toolkit Exit Disclaimer was disseminated statewidet:

Recently, a paper reporting on results of the toolkit's use in the field was accepted for publication by the Developmental Disabilities Network Journal. Three providers tried the toolkit with 20 clients to see if it would be helpful in making decisions that maintained safety from COVID-19 for all involved. The results showed that the toolkit can be useful when making decisions about treatment that protects clients, families, and behavioral health staff from COVID-19. In addition, the toolkit could be useful in other educational or human service situations that provide similar close-contact therapies.

For more information, please contact lead authors Joshua Plavnick or Krista Clancy.


LEND, TIPS trainees provide family-centered care to families 2020-2021

Training in Interdisciplinary Partnerships and Services (TIPS) - Missouri LEND


Photo: TIPS trainees on week one of beginning the LEND training program

TIPS for Kids is the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training program in Missouri. This year we are so proud of our trainees! They were able to provide exceptional collaborative services despite having to be in two separate buildings to oblige by COVID-19 regulations. The common goal of providing families with thorough, family-centered care has driven this team. We look forward in seeing all the ways these future clinicians will contribute to the field of Autism, health-care, and in leadership positions.


Providing Interdisciplinary Autism Evaluations to Underserved FamiliesNorthern Arizona University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Interdisciplinary Training Clinic at the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University

The Interdisciplinary Training Clinic (ITC) at the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University has been serving individuals with disabilities and their families for over 20 years. Through the decades it has evolved to best serve the needs of individuals throughout northern Arizona. Over the past 5 years, it has become one of the only clinics in northeast Arizona where young children can receive a comprehensive interdisciplinary developmental evaluation at no cost.

The interdisciplinary team includes a developmental behavioral pediatrician, educational psychologists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, physical therapists and behavior analysts. This team collaborates to provide clients and families with a well-planned and orchestrated team evaluation that meets their needs and responds to their particular questions and concerns. Importantly, it also provides families follow-up support in accessing services, resources, and supports in their home communities. As the only interdisciplinary clinic in northern Arizona, the ITC has played a vital role in helping provide ASD diagnoses to children from underserved populations and from extremely rural communities.

Many of the clients who come to the interdisciplinary training clinic are from the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is about the size of West Virginia and includes areas in three different states. The population is approximately 173,000. One of the health inequities that Navajos face is the lack of health care providers who can diagnose ASD. Families often have to travel many hours to receive support. The ITC is an important resource for many of these families who might otherwise wait years for their children to receive a diagnosis of ASD.

The Interdisciplinary Training Clinic is also a training clinic for students. By providing students from diverse academic programs the opportunity to work with practitioners from different backgrounds, the ITC helps them expand their knowledge of other professions as well provides them with the experience of serving families from underserved populations and diverse cultural backgrounds.

 

University of Minnesota LEND


Closing the Gaps: Autism Health Disparities

Left to Right: Jennifer Hall-Lande, Jessica Simacek , and Quinn Oteman

Responding to research documenting health disparities in the autism community, investigators at University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI-UCEDD) have joined a national research network formed to improve the physical health and well-being of children and adults with autism.

The multidisciplinary team, called the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health Exit Disclaimer (AIRNPH), is led by University of California, Los Angeles, under a grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration. It will support interventional studies and other research on autism as it intersects with overall healthcare access and quality, primary care utilization, physical activity, stress, sleep, substance abuse, sexual health, neurological issues, and genetics, among others. The project will also explore disparities in healthcare among women and people from underserved or vulnerable populations.

ICI is among 15 collaborating organizations and seven research nodes participating in the network. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) will serve as the data repository and will help manage the network. AUCD's broad membership network will also serve as collaborators, and UCLA's Alice Kuo, a professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, is the project director.

"We're very excited to collaborate on this project with some of the key leaders in the field of autism research," said Jennifer Hall-Lande Exit Disclaimer (MNLEND faculty; MNLEND 2009-10), principal investigator on the project for ICI. The ICI team also includes Lynda Lahti Anderson Exit Disclaimer and Jessica Simacek Exit Disclaimer (MNLEND faculty; MNLEND 2015-16) "It's a wonderful opportunity to look across the lifespan at outcomes, and to work at the intersection of public health, well-being, community living, and autism."

One recent ICI-based AIRNPH-focused project underway is a literature review by Quinn Oteman (MNLEND 2020-21) for his MNLEND project, under Dr. Hall-Lande's guidance. Oteman reviewed recent research on sexual and gender differences in autism and related health outcomes and is drafting his analysis.

He found that when the autistic and LGBTQIA+ identities intersect, the risk of experiencing healthcare disparities for people becomes even greater. In some studies, he noted that caregivers, physicians or educators expressed beliefs that autistic individuals were inherently asexual, incapable of having romantic relationships, or not wanting to engage in sexual activity. Some studies showed that healthcare providers denied healthcare and sexual health information to this population.

Additionally, research reveals that autistic people with LGBTQIA+ identities are at an increased risk for unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections (STD & STI), untreated mental health conditions, adverse physical health outcomes, substance abuse, and they receive inadequate healthcare services in comparison to the neurotypical and heterosexual populations.

Oteman's MNLEND project has helped to accentuate that negative stigmatization is being experienced by autistic individuals with LGBTQIA+ identities. Oteman and Hall-Lande are now collaborating on research proposals to address these issues and better support this population in future research and practice.

Note: The Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health prefers the use of "autistic person" as opposed to "person with autism" in order to respect the preferences of self-advocates not to separate their experience of autism from who they are.


New Support for UMN ICI Tele-Outreach

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has awarded a $2 million, multi-year grant to the University of Minnesota Foundation to support tele-outreach services through the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB). Exit Disclaimer ICI, as a MIDB partner, will lead the creation of the MIDB TeleOutreach Center over the next three years, bringing together clinical pediatric providers and developmental specialists to reach underserved communities around the state with convenient and cost-effective services.

MIDB is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to supporting healthy brain development and intervening early to address mental health and neurodevelopmental challenges such as autism, learning disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and other neurocognitive disabilities. 

"This forward-thinking gift provides a critical foundation for expanding intervention services throughout Minnesota for many years to come," said ICI and MNLEND Director Amy Hewitt. Exit Disclaimer

Tele-outreach refers to a broad set of training, technical assistance, and intervention services delivered electronically to children, families, and professionals in the field. The Center will be housed in the new MIDB facility, now under construction at 2025 East River Parkway, Minneapolis.

"We're leveraging technology and innovation to increase our reach and serve more children with neurodevelopmental disorders and behavioral health needs statewide," said  Jessica Simacek Exit Disclaimer (MNLEND 2015-16), director of the TeleOutreach Center and manager of ICI's Telehealth Lab. "We're building sustainable pathways and resources so more children and families in different regions of the state can access very high-quality, interdisciplinary intervention."

Using secure, remote video communication technology, leading specialists will provide assessment, intervention, and support for young people with mental health and neurodevelopmental disabilities. The Center will also conduct remote training and coaching for health, education, and human services professionals, as well as families. The technology will allow investigators to conduct innovative research, collaborate with each other, and host community forums for creating better outcomes for children, young people, and their families.

"It's going to be a great, one-stop shop," said Adele Dimian Exit Disclaimer (MNLEND 2017-18), an ICI research associate also working on the project. "It's exciting to collaborate across different fields as the University broadens its work in the field of autism and other disorders."

As children with disabilities and their families face additional challenges due to the pandemic, the new facility will help improve access to intervention, Simacek said.

"We're going to now be able to scale up a lot of promising work to address those barriers," she said.

Top: Jessica Simacek working in ICI's Telehealth Lab;
Bottom Left: Jessica Simacek; Bottom Right: Adele Dimian

 

Trainee Highlights

Rumi Agarwal, MPH, PhDc

Florida International University Public Health Catalyst Program

My desire to improve the lives of children with developmental disabilities began with an early experience as a teenager where I volunteered at a school for children with special needs in rural India. However, my realization of the direct impact of parent wellbeing on the lives of these children occurred to me during my time as a Maternal and Child Health trainee and scholar at Florida International University (FIU). My exposure to theory, methods and active learning in the classroom paired with practice-based experiences with families in the community helped me to better understand the lives of parents of children with developmental disabilities.

I am now a doctoral candidate in Public Health at FIU getting ready to defend my dissertation.  My research focuses on the parents of children with autism and intellectual disabilities. The opportunity to work as a graduate research assistant with FIU Embrace for almost 4-years, an inclusive postsecondary program for students with intellectual disabilities, has further allowed me to understand that the needs of all family members should be addressed holistically, which includes the need for greater awareness and acceptance of individuals with autism.

I am currently completing a study funded by the Social Security Administration's Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program on financial planning behaviors among families of children with developmental disabilities. This is an important effort to expand our understanding of what families need, especially given that many of these families live in financial distress.  I have also had the opportunity to publish 10 peer-reviewed studies in disability journals and presented extensively at local and national presentations. I have been a volunteer with the Special Olympics Healthy Community in Florida and March of Dimes.  As I continue to pursue scholarship in this area, I am committed to pulling developmental disabilities out of the margins and into the forefront of research.


Disha Uppal, MPHc

Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, MCH Catalyst Program

I am currently pursuing my MPH in Global Health at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, where Maternal and Child Health (MCH) themes are woven throughout the curriculum. Prior to beginning my MPH, I worked as a Supports Coordinator for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Philadelphia. In 2018, I began working for the Policy and Analytics Center (PAC) at AJ Drexel Autism Institute as a Research Associate. My work at PAC ranges from building and supporting community programming initiatives to creating resources and supporting families in navigating both resources and the autism service system in Pennsylvania.

In my role at PAC, I am currently supporting the creation of an Autism Family Navigator Program in Philadelphia. In this model, a parent or caregiver of an individual on the spectrum receives a comprehensive series of trainings which prepares them to provide navigation services to other parents/caregivers of individuals on the autism spectrum. The goal of this project is to support families in navigating the Philadelphia autism service system as well as increase the number of families accessing services and promote earlier access to diagnosis and services as applicable.

The MCH program at Drexel promotes a multidisciplinary and intersectional approach to supporting children and families. Within the MCH program, I have taken Introduction to Maternal and Child Health and Global Issues in Maternal and Child Health. One key theme which I have taken from these courses is the value of the life course perspective. Often when we consider MCH issues, we think about people who are pregnant, yet these individuals have lived full lives and have had ranging contacts with the healthcare system before this point in their life. The life course approach has shaped my thinking and prompted me to consider innovative and comprehensive ways to support diverse populations within MCH, not just when their needs are within the MCH umbrella, but rather considering how to improve care throughout the life span. As both a full-time employee and part-time student, I am truly able to take my classroom experiences and knowledge directly to work being done in the community.


Supporting Young People with Co-occurring Diagnoses of Autism and Their Caregivers

Emily Reich, PhD and Brenda Osorio, PsyD

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

The psychology post-doctoral fellows of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles support young people with a variety of presenting concerns and intersecting identities. During our training we have gained valuable experience supporting young people with co-occurring diagnoses of autism, as well as their caregivers. We have had the opportunity to co-facilitate social skills groups for adolescents and young adults utilizing the evidence-based Seeking Safety model as well as support groups for parents and family members of individuals with developmental disabilities. In the social skills groups, trainees model communication skills and provide encouragement for clients to practice those skills with each other to build confidence in social situations. Trainees also coach the clients to utilize healthy coping skills to deal with difficult emotions. In the caregiver groups the post-doc fellows implement interventions with the aim of improving positive parenting skills, assist caregivers to more successfully support their children in addressing mental health issues, and encourage connections to appropriate community resources to address their children's goals and objectives for treatment. In addition, caregivers are taught the importance of self-care to support their own health and well-being be a model for their children. The connections built in the social skills groups have been incredibly beneficial for the young people and the caregivers who attend, especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when many families are faced with isolation. It has been great to see both youth and caregivers connect with each other and provide a space to share good news, movie recommendations as well as support when things are stressful.


Casey Burrows

University of Minnesota LEND Trainee

Casey Burrows (MNLEND 2018-19) reached out to teens and their families who come to the University of Minnesota's autism neurodevelopmental clinic to ask about their reactions to the killing of George Floyd and check in on their wellbeing. "The world isn't expecting [people living with autism] to show a strong emotional response, but they are feeling this so strongly," said Burrows, an assistant professor of pediatrics. "We had some amazing responses."

Some teens created visual art, others wrote passionately, debunking the common misconception that people with autism lack emotion.

"It's very sad and heartbreaking to see so many Black men and women die from police brutality," one teen wrote. "Events like this make me feel sick to my stomach." A parent talked about a family visit to the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis to see the George Floyd mural.

"[My son] was overwhelmed with emotion and we had to leave after just three or four minutes," the parent wrote. "He might show his emotions differently from others, but he feels them all the same."

Said another parent: "Children with autism feel these things in a deep and visceral way that I have not seen often in the world until I met these amazing children of mine." The exercise is a prime example of Burrows' philosophy on working with children and teens with autism.

"I came into MNLEND being very trained in a medical model. I did my training at medical schools and departments of psychology, so learning about everything else in the life of autistic individuals and their families was one of the best things about my LEND year for me," Burrows said. "Seeing different providers and community members and what's important to them is very different from what clinicians often focus on, and I've brought that into my clinical practice."

Burrows sees her practice as a way to help people understand themselves and to help them capture their own strengths and areas of need.

Events

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) invites you to particpate in their 2021 AUCD Autism Acceptance Month events. Exit Disclaimer

How Can Telehealth Enhance Early Identification and Service? Exit Disclaimer
April 15th, 2:00 PM EST

In this panel discussion, providers from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's / Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC/TRIAD) will review recent work using tele-mediated assessment, service, and capacity building paradigms for early detection and intervention. Novel partnerships with the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS/Part C) will also be discussed. This work will present success stories, challenges, and opportunities for utilizing telehealth to reach traditionally underserved populations pre-, during, and post-COVID-19.


Learning to Face Fears from Home: Unexpected Benefits and Discoveries Exit Disclaimer
April 23rd, 2:00 PM EST

The purpose of this webinar will be to describe an evidence-based, manualized group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) program for youth with ASD and anxiety, called Facing Your Fears (FYF). Following a brief description of FYF, we will discuss specific ways that FYF has been adapted for virtual delivery, including successes and challenges. Presenters include clinicians who co-facilitate the FYF virtual groups, as well as a parent of a teen with ASD and anxiety who participated in the FYF groups.


Caregiver Coaching Through Telehealth: Benefits, Challenges, and Opportunities Exit Disclaimer

April 27th, 2:00 PM EST

We will provide a discussion of caregiver coaching strategies over telehealth using two different Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs) and consider options for multiple formats (synchronous and asynchronous). Benefits and challenges to using telehealth technology for caregiver coaching will be explored. A parent of a young child with autism who participated in coaching, both in-person and through telehealth, will share her experiences.


Autism SIG Open House Exit Disclaimer

April 29th, 2:00 PM EST

Join Autism SIG co-chairs, Brian Be and Dr. Laura Carpenter for this opportunity to learn more about the SIG's activities, network with other members, and share ideas.