Storming the Ivory Tower: Why autism interventions don’t work as they should in the community and what to do about it
David Mandell, Sc.D., Director, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research; Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
The communities in which children with autism are identified in ever increasing numbers are unable to meet their needs. In response to this challenge, many jurisdictions have enacted legislation and other policy mechanisms, often in the absence of any evidence supporting them, to increase access to autism-related care. While these mechanisms have in some cases increased access to care, it is not clear that they have increased quality of care or associated outcomes. In fact, most studies suggest that evidence-based interventions for individuals with autism are not implemented in community settings the way they were designed, nor do they achieve the same outcomes observed in university-based research trials, regardless of the policy environment. This presentation will describe the effects of policies on improving care for children with autism, and also on research conducted in partnership with community agencies, designed to determine the best ways to increase the use of evidence-based practice in publicly-funded service systems. The presentation ends with concrete suggestions for academic-public partnerships that both increase community-based quality of care for individuals with autism and advance science in this area.