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Community Training Initiatives

Ask the Experts

A primary barrier in the translation of research into practice is the lack of training programs for community-based practitioners. Furthermore, even the most knowledgeable families and practitioners can benefit from more intensive autism training and learning about the services, supports, and interventions available regionally.

Distinguished Lecture Series

CAR's Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS) features some of the most prominent autism researchers and clinicians in the world. Topics range from immunology to genetics to behavioral interventions. Many of the DLS speakers present two presentations – one for the scientific community and one for the general public. Presentations to the scientific community last an hour with a half-hour networking session preceding them. They are attended by approximately 40-50 area doctors, clinicians, researchers and students, both with and without an autism specialty. Second presentations are held in the evening to provide an opportunity for families and community autism service providers to attend. These presentations are two hours long and are usually filled to capacity (approximately 75-100 guests, depending on the size of the room). All DLS workshops are free of charge. For more information on upcoming speakers, visit our Events page.

Next Steps Workshop

CAR offers three separate Next Steps workshops:

Next Steps Workshop for Families of Young Children: This workshop is for parents of young children newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Topics will include an overview of ASD and accompanying conditions, available therapies and treatments, how to decide what interventions to pursue, and tips for supporting families living with ASD. Presenters will include specialists in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, speech and language development, occupational therapy, and special education law. Parents who have made the next steps with their children will participate in a panel discussion.

Next Steps Workshop for Professionals: This is a workshop for professionals working with young children newly diagnosed with ASDs. Topics include an overview of ASDs and accompanying conditions, available therapies and treatments, how to decide what interventions to pursue, and tips for supporting families living with ASDs. Two researchers from CAR will present their studies. Other presenters include specialists in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, speech and language development, occupational therapy, and social work. Parents who have made the next steps with their children will participate in a panel led group discussion. Continuing education credits are available.

Next Steps into Adolescence: This workshop is for parents of a pre-adolescent or adolescent child with ASD. As children approach and enter the teen years, they must deal with physical growth spurts, mindboggling hormone releases, and ever-changing and challenging social relationships. For preadolescent children with ASD, these already complicated physical and social changes are compounded by the typical ASD-difficulties of reading social cues and understanding the behaviors of others. Consequently, children with ASD approaching adolescence have greater transition needs than most typically developing pre-teens. Likewise, parents can benefit from understanding and knowing what they might expect as their children progress through this next developmental stage. The workshop will feature presentations from experts in psychology, behavior health, medicine, social work, and education. Parents who have adolescent children with ASD will participate in a panel led group discussion.

To view the presentation dates for our Next Steps Workshop Series, please visit the CAR Events page or contact Gail Stein.

Pediatrician Education

The average age for an autism diagnosis is three years. However, a reliable diagnosis can be made as early as 18 months of age or even sooner. Research has shown that early intervention can make a huge difference in the outcomes of children on the spectrum. Thus a delay of diagnosis can have serious repercussions for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Through a national research endeavor, CAR faculty were involved in developing the First Signs program, which helps train pediatricians to recognize signs of autism and make earlier diagnoses. Locally, CAR has begun to expand this program. CAR staff visits regional pediatrician groups to present an intensive workshop on autism screening and diagnosis, management of autism spectrum disorders, community resources, and the latest research into the causes and treatments for autism.

Other Professional Education

CAR faculty and staff provide a wide range of other presentations to community organizations outside of CHOP. Examples of recent topics include the screening and diagnosis of ASD, evidence-based interventions, causes and correlates of ASD, sleep in children with ASD, psychopharmacology in children with ASD, and important supports for families. For more information or to schedule a presentation, please contact Julianne Fretz.

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