Nav: Home

Autism care improved, diagnosis time shortened by new MU program

May 31, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Wait lists for a specialist to confirm an autism diagnosis can be agonizing and last months. As the prevalence of autism and autism spectrum disorders increase, so does the demand for a health care system that is fully equipped to respond to the complex needs associated with autism. Now, Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Autism, a new program from the University of Missouri, is training primary care providers in best-practice care for autism spectrum disorders. Initial results of the pilot program found significant improvements in primary care provider confidence in screening and management of autism and in utilization of specific tools and resources.

"We are very excited about the initial results from the ECHO Autism model," said Kristin Sohl, associate professor of child health and the director of ECHO Autism. "Children with autism can show symptoms as early as 12 months; however, in too many cases children may not receive a diagnosis until they are 5 years old. Early diagnosis is critical for children with autism, and primary care providers play an important role in that initial process."

The ECHO model connects primary care providers to academic medical centers using videoconferencing technology. This allows one-on-one training in diagnosis, screenings, treatment protocols and care management. The ECHO model was created by Sanjeev Arora, MD, from the University of New Mexico and first demonstrated effectiveness in improving outcomes for hepatitis C and has expanded to address other complex medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and addiction. Now, MU researchers have developed the first ECHO model to be applied to the care of children with autism in an effort to reduce disparities for underserved and rural children and their families.

"Currently there are not enough specialists to manage the number of children with autism who need health care," said Micah Mazurek, assistant professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions and lead author of the study. "A real need exists to assist community-based health care providers as they help families get the answers they need without traveling or waiting to see a specialist. Preliminary data from the pilot program suggests ECHO Autism can help with that issue."

ECHO Autism clinics are conducted using high-quality secure video conferencing technology to connect participating primary care clinics to a panel of experts based at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The panel includes a pediatrician specializing in ASD, a clinical psychologist, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a dietician, a social worker, and a parent of a child with autism. The primary care providers maintain responsibility for care of their patients using the expert panel to build skills and discuss issues.

In testing the pilot, researchers found that participating primary care providers demonstrated significant improvements in confidence across all domains of health care for children with autism--screening and identification, assessment and treatment of medical and psychiatric conditions, and knowledge of and referral to available resources. Future research on ECHO Autism is being conducted through the Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health and will expand the reach of the program to 10 additional academic centers connecting with primary care providers across the US and Canada.

ECHO Autism is a partnership between the MU Thompson Center for Autism, MU Health and the Missouri Telehealth Network Show-Me ECHO program. The study, "ECHO Autism: A New Model for Training Primary Care Providers in Best-Practice Care for Children with Autism," was published in Clinical Pediatrics. The program received financial support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, the Leda J. Sears Charitable Trust and the WellCare Innovation Institute.
-end-


University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Autism Articles:

Genes, ozone, and autism
Exposure to ozone in the environment puts individuals with high levels of genetic variation at an even higher risk for developing autism than would be expected just by adding the two risk factors together, a new analysis shows.
A blood test for autism
An algorithm based on levels of metabolites found in a blood sample can accurately predict whether a child is on the autism spectrum of disorder (ASD), based upon a recent study.
New form of autism found
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect around one percent of the world's population and are characterized by a range of difficulties in social interaction and communication.
Autism Speaks MSSNG study expands understanding of autism's complex genetics
A new study from Autism Speaks' MSSNG program expands understanding of autism's complex causes and may hold clues for the future development of targeted treatments.
Paths to Autism: One or Many?
A new report in Biological Psychiatry reports that brain alterations in infants at risk for autism may be widespread and affect multiple systems, in contrast to the widely held assumption of impairment specifically in social brain networks.
Raising a child with autism
Humans are resilient, even facing the toughest of life's challenges.
Explaining autism
Recognizing a need to better understand the biology that produces Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms, scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), Singapore, have teamed up and identified a novel mechanism that potentially links abnormal brain development to the cause of ASDs.
Autism breakthrough
Using a visual test that is known to prompt different reactions in autistic and normal brains, Harvard researchers have shown that those differences were associated with a breakdown in the signaling pathway used by GABA, one of the brain's chief inhibitory neurotransmitters.
New options for treating autism
The release of oxytocin leads to an increase in the production of anandamide, which causes mice to display a preference for interacting socially.
The Autism Science Foundation launches the Autism Sisters Project
The Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, today announced the launch of the Autism Sisters Project, a new initiative that will give unaffected sisters of individuals with autism the opportunity to take an active role in accelerating research into the 'Female Protective Effect.'

Related Autism Reading:

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
by Barry M. Prizant (Author)

Winner of the Autism Society of America’s Dr. Temple Grandin Award for the Outstanding Literary Work in Autism

A groundbreaking book on autism, by one of the world’s leading experts, who portrays autism as a unique way of being human—this is “required reading....Breathtakingly simple and profoundly positive” (Chicago Tribune).

Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant... View Details


Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World
by Raun K. Kaufman (Author)

As a boy, Raun Kaufman was diagnosed by multiple experts as severely autistic, with an IQ below 30, and destined to spend his life in an institution. Years later, Raun graduated with a degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and has become a passionate and articulate autism expert and educator with no trace of his former condition.
So what happened?

Thanks to The Son-Rise Program, a revolutionary method created by his parents, Raun experienced a full recovery from autism. (His story was recounted in the best-selling book Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues and in the... View Details


The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
by Naoki Higashida (Author), KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)

“One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg Business • Bookish

FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a... View Details


A Parent's Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Second Edition: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive
by Sally Ozonoff (Author), Geraldine Dawson (Author), James C. McPartland (Author)

Many tens of thousands of parents have found the facts they need about high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including Asperger syndrome, in this indispensable guide. Leading experts show how you can work with your child's unique impairments--and harness his or her capabilities. Vivid stories and real-world examples illustrate ways to help kids with ASD relate more comfortably to peers, learn the rules of appropriate behavior, and succeed in school. You'll learn how ASD is diagnosed and what treatments and educational supports really work. Updated with the latest research and... View Details


An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn
by Sally J. Rogers (Author), Geraldine Dawson (Author), Laurie A. Vismara (Author)

Cutting-edge research reveals that parents can play a huge role in helping toddlers and preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) connect with others and live up to their potential. This encouraging guide from the developers of a groundbreaking early intervention program provides doable, practical strategies you can use every day. Nearly all young kids—including those with ASD—have an amazing capacity to learn. Drs. Sally Rogers, Geraldine Dawson, and Laurie Vismara make it surprisingly simple to turn daily routines like breakfast or bath time into fun and rewarding learning... View Details


Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism
by Chantal Sicile-Kira (Author)

Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today

Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:

• The causes of autism spectrum disorders
• Getting an accurate diagnosis
• Treatments based on behavioral,... View Details


I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism (A First Look At...Series)
by Pat Thomas (Author)

Psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas puts her gentle, yet straightforward approach to work in this new addition to Barron’s highly acclaimed A First Look At...Series. This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it. A wonderful catalyst for discussion that will help children to better understand and support autistic classmates or siblings. The story line is simple and easily accessible to younger children, who will learn that exploring the personal feelings around social issues is a first step in dealing with them. Full-color... View Details


Eating for Autism: The 10-Step Nutrition Plan to Help Treat Your Child’s Autism, Asperger’s, or ADHD
by Elizabeth Strickland (Author)

What your child eats has a major impact on his brain and body function. Eating for Autism is the first book to explain how an autism, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, or ADHD condition can effectively be treated through diet.

Eating for Autism presents a realistic 10-step plan to change your child's diet, starting with essential foods and supplements and moving to more advanced therapies like the Gluten-Free Casein-Free diet. Parents who have followed Strickland's revolutionary plan have reported great improvements in their child's condition, from his mood, sleeping patterns, learning... View Details


We're Amazing 1,2,3! A Story About Friendship and Autism (Sesame Street) (Big Golden Book)
by Leslie Kimmelman (Author), Mary Beth Nelson (Illustrator)

A Sesame Street Big Golden Book about a new character with autism.

We're Amazing 1,2,3! is the first Sesame Street storybook to focus on autism, which, according to the most recent US government survey, may, in some form, affect as many as one in forty-five children. It's part of Sesame Street's autism initiative that has expanded to include a new character with autism. Elmo introduces his longtime friend Julia to Abby, who's a little confused at first because Julia isn't saying hello. Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently. Julia... View Details


Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition
by Ellen Notbohm (Author), Veronica Zysk (Editor)

A bestseller gets even better!  Every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician should have this succinct and informative book in their back pocket. Framed with both humor and compassion, the book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate—not define—children with autism.

Ellen’s personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD, a celebrated autism author, and a contributor to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites around the world coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."