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Autism Speaks Launches New Tools for Providing Feedback to Families

January 24, 2014

Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN) is pleased to announce the release of two new tools for professionals: A Clinician's Guide to Providing Effective Feedback to Families Affected by Autism and accompanying videos on the importance of feedback, preparing for the feedback session, providing the diagnosis, as well as recommendations and next steps.

Written by medical experts, through their participation in the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), this free publication is designed to provide health care professionals with instructional support for leading a productive diagnostic feedback session. The manual and accompanying videos focus on all aspects of providing information about a diagnosis of autism - verbal, written and body language.

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. 

While these new tools 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 video 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 watch the videos and download your free copy of A Clinician's Guide to Providing Effective Feedback to Families Affected by Autism.

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. 

*This tool kit is the product of on-going activities of Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN) in its role as the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). The AIR-P is supported through 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.