Bridging gaps in autism care through technology
Technology’s potential to improve care delivery and reduce human suffering were the key focus of discussion at the recent Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), held in Washington, D.C.
Within ABCT’s Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Group (ASDD SIG), presentations showcased tools that leverage technology to better meet the needs of both autistic people and the clinicians who care for them. Researchers from the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) at Children’s National took center stage at the ASD focused group to share information about novel developments underway that harness technology for children and families.
Lauren Kenworthy, Ph.D., director of CASD, served as the keynote speaker for the ASDD SIG Meeting. She also chaired a panel, “Leveraging Technology to Improve Autism Acceptance and Treatment” and presented, ” Online Parent Training Modules to Improve Executive Function in Autistic Children” about the e-Unstuck and On Target Parent Training Study, which adapts CASD’s successful classroom-based Unstuck and On Target toolkit for children ages 5 to 10 to an online platform so more families can benefit from the program’s skills and strategies.
Dr. Kenworthy was honored with the 2018 Transformative Contribution Award from the ABCT Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Group for her lifetime of contributions to better understanding and better interventions for young people with ASD.
“It was a special honor to receive this recognition from ABCT this year, when the annual meeting is here in our home city,” says Dr. Kenworthy. “The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders is focused on developing technology solutions that deliver therapies to everyone who needs them, no matter where they live, and technology is one powerful and promising way we can bridge care gaps both in the Washington, D.C. region and really, around the world.”
In addition to Dr. Kenworthy, several other CASD researchers presented research during panels and poster presentations, including:
- Panel Presentation: Efficacy of a Parent-Mediated Sexual Education Curriculum for Youth With ASD”– Cara Pugliese, Ph.D.
- Poster presentations:
- “Evidence of Enhanced Social Skills in Young Dual-Language Learners on the Autism Spectrum”- Allison Ratto, Ph.D. (first author)
- “Exploring Contributors to Parents’ Ideal and Realistic Goals for Involvement in School Training”-Marissa Miller, Ph.D. (first author)
- “Examining Caregiver Well-Being and Service Use between Latino and Non-Latino Caregivers”-Laura Saldana (first author)
- “Pre-Pubertal Signs of Future Gender Dysphoria in Youth with ASD”-Eleonora Sadikova (first author)
The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Annual Convention has been held for more than half a century. The gathering includes 3,500-plus mental health professionals and students who specialize in cognitive and behavioral therapies.