ATN/AIR-P Guide to Providing Feedback to Families Affected by Autism

Parents never forget the feedback session as receiving a diagnosis of autism for their child can be a very stressful and overwhelming experience. However, while this is a difficult diagnosis to provide to a family, a well-run feedback session may also be a positive experience. The feedback session is often a crucial touchstone on the journey of having a child with a disability. Effective communication between the clinician and the family can lead to parents feeling supported and empowered to use the information that they receive to begin to address their children's needs. 

A Clinician's Guide to Providing Effective Feedback to Families Affected by Autism and the accompanying videos are designed to provide health care professionals with instructional support for leading a productive diagnostic feedback session. The manual and videos focus on all aspects of providing information about a diagnosis of autism - verbal, written and body language.

While the manual and videos primarily target psychology trainees who are giving an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis to families, the principles involved apply to all clinicians who deliver evaluation results, diagnoses and/or treatment recommendations to their clients. Good feedback practices are universal and apply to clinicians in other professions including pediatricians, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists.

It is the writers' hope that the feedback videos and materials will be widely disseminated and promote thoughtful discussion about how best to give families critical information when their children receive a difficult diagnosis. 

Click here to download A Clinician's Guide to Providing Effective Feedback to Families Affected by Autism.

Delivering Feedback Videos

The videos below present parents and clinicians discussing their positive and negative experiences with feedback sessions and can be shown in class or viewed online to illustrate key concepts and best practices. 

Chapter 1: The Importance of Feedback

Chapter 2: Preparing for the Feedback Session

Chapter 3: Providing the Diagnosis

Chapter 4: Recommendations and Next Steps

To learn more about the tool kit and the importance of delivering effective feedback, see a blog post by co-author Harriet B. Austin, Ph.D., here. You can also download other AS-ATN/AIR-P tool kits on the Tools You Can Use page. 

"These materials are the product of on-going activities of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, a funded program of Autism Speaks. It is supported by cooperative agreement UA3 MC 11054 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MCHB, HRSA, HHS, or Autism Speaks."