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Autism Consortium Family and Clinician Support

As the Autism Consortium embarked on a Boston-wide research endeavor to develop a greater understanding of the etiology and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), this grant enabled the Consortium to provide care and support to the families and clinicians involved in their research. Through the Family Support component of this project, the Autism Consortium provided several participating Boston-area institutions with Autism Family Resource Specialists who provided support to families grappling with the diagnosis of autism. The Resource Specialists were trained in how to support families dealing with the feelings that accompany a diagnosis of ASD, and how to educate others at their institutions. The Resource Specialists provided educational materials to families including research program information. In addition, Resource Specialists provided consultation/coaching, set up parent-to-parent support programs, and arranged topical seminars. The Resource Specialists thus provided critical continuity with families from the time of diagnosis over the course of the research program. Through the Clinician Support component of this project, the Consortium provided support for quarterly meetings of participating clinicians to share best practices, raised issues or concerns about the research program, learned about emerging research findings, and identified opportunities for research and improved care.