One way that ASERT is working to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians with autism is by providing education and training to professionals, family members, individuals with autism, and members of the community who may have interaction with people who have autism. The projects below describe ASERT projects for a variety of audiences
Psychopharmacology Guidelines Group
Eastern Region ASERT led a project to produce a guiding document for practitioners working with adolescents and adults with ASD around treatment using various psychotropic medications, the Pennsylvania Psychopharmacology Guidelines Workgroup Report. A workgroup of professionals experienced in working with this population from a variety of clinical disciplines was convened to compile the results of the workgroup into a synthesized document. The goal of this guiding document is to provide a resource to practitioners treating individuals with autism with medications, from general practice to in-patient settings and hospitals. Additionally, four Psychopharmacology eLearning courses were developed and are available for CME credits on the ASERT eLearning page. Finally, Psychopharmacology Information Sheets were developed, providing additional information and resources on this important topic.
Education of Emergency and Pre-Hospital Responders on the Care of Patients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASERT has provided face to face training to over 500 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Emergency Department (ED) personnel. In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Health Services Council ASERT developed an online training for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMS) personnel across the state. Training courses have been approved by the DOH for CEU’s. Individuals with Autism in Emergency or Crisis Situations, Part 1: & 2 and A Guide for Emergency Department Personnel: Assessing and Treating Individuals with Autism. Resources such as a brochure entitled Assessing Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Emergency Department Brochure and Instrument to Prepare for Acute Care of the Individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Emergency Department have been developed and are available on the ASERT website: Tools to Support Emergency Room Personnel in the Treatment of Individuals with Autism
ASERT has developed a DVD and training manual for Emergency Room Staff. Please contact the ASERT Resource Center (firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-231-4244) to obtain copies of these. These tools are being used in emergency rooms across the state.
Behavior Specialist Licensure Trainings
ASERT created video based trainings that meet specific need areas for behavior specialists to be licensed under Act 62, a law that requires specialized training for individuals who provide behavior specialist services. These trainings completed the catalog of required areas that are now available on www.MyODP.org.
Juvenile Justice Deterrent Training Program for ASD
Due to the unique social and communication challenges, individuals with autism might also be at risk of committing socially inappropriate actions that reach the level of illegal, offending behaviors. For example, the social deficits associated with autism may impact psychosexual development to a degree where inappropriate pursuits, interests, or touching may result in an act that is unlawful. Communication deficits may also impact expressed anger to a degree where violent and aggressive behaviors rather than more appropriate verbal exchanges result. While the acts themselves may be unlawful, the intent driving the act may not be similar to antisocial attitudes commonly found in offender populations. The goal of this project is to design training and a manual including best practices for individuals with autism who have interaction with the legal system. The training is intended to target all members of the justice system to include attorneys, magistrates, judges, probation officers, etc.