Posted by Clara Lajonchere, PhD, Autism Speaks vice president of clinical programs
One of the greatest frustrations parents have when their child with autism has a medical issue or needs a medical procedure is the lack of information that their healthcare provider might have about autism or what it takes to work with a patient on the spectrum. To educate providers and improve communication between families and physicians through our national dissemination efforts, the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network has developed a portfolio of tool kits for both professionals and families. But education is a lifelong process and given the continuing rise in autism rates, we need to do a better job of putting information in the hands of primary care doctors who are taking care of our children in their local communities. As organizers of the 2nd annual Autism Speaks National Conference for Families and Professionals, we’re excited to tell you why this conference is so essential for healthcare professionals.
Every day, our families and professionals face a range of challenges and practical issues. These include social challenges, school-related issues as well as medical and behavioral concerns. There’s also the tricky art of everyday living both within the family and with the affected individual’s professional support team.
The Autism Speaks National Conference is unique in its focus on the “whole person” approach to clinical care. This takes into account much more than a person’s symptoms. It embraces the many communities to which he or she belongs. We’ve embodied this in the conference title, “Treating the Whole Person with Autism.”
Certainly, this conference will provide in-depth information on important topic areas, particularly those associated with medical conditions, challenging behaviors, psychiatric disorders and transitions to adolescence and adulthood. Our aim, however, is to focus on the integration of care across the lifespan. The emphasis is on how associated health issues affect the overall health and wellbeing of a person with autism throughout their life. We want families to partner with us and encourage their primary care doctors and healthcare professionals to attend.
In addition, we are focusing on practical information for families. We want to ensure that the information, tools and resources attendees take from this conference can be used in their everyday lives.
Families often ask us, “Research is great, but what are you doing for families today?” The conference was specifically designed to provide this immediate help and support. We understand what families and their professional support teams need right now. The aim of this conference is to delivering on that promise!
We ask that all families reach out to their primary care networks both locally and regionally to help us educate the professionals that will be taking care of your family members. We offer continuing medical education (CME) credits and continuing education units (CEU) for physicians, nurses, and psychologists. You can find more detailed information about our program and speakers here. We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!
Got more questions? Please send them to GotQuestions@autismspeaks.org.