parent and child on video call with care provider

Bridging Barriers

September 9, 2021

MIDB researchers and colleagues recently received a new three-year award to address health disparities through a study of a telehealth-enabled early diagnostic and intervention package for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are waitlisted for diagnostic evaluation or intervention services.

Children and families face striking barriers to accessing these critical services, resulting in significant delays to ASD diagnosis and early intervention. Families in rural areas or in culturally and linguistically diverse communities often face increased disparities in accessing these services.

Through a randomized trial, researchers will investigate how to improve outcomes for these populations through a supplemental telehealth-based evaluation and Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI) delivered by caregivers with remote support from interventionists.

“Our goal is to eliminate health barriers and disparities for children with ASD by improving the effectiveness of evaluation and intervention delivered via telehealth on child outcomes of communication, social-communication, and challenging behavior, as well as improving communication outcomes for children who are not verbally communicating and improving family quality of life, caregiver feelings of efficacy, caregiver experiences of stress, and caregiver use of NDBI strategies,” said Jessica Simacek, PhD, PI of the study and director of the TeleOutreachCenter.

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