The Autism Program at Boston Medical Center
Psychosocial Support and Resource Assistance
For families seen at Boston Medical Center, specialists are available at the time of diagnosis to offer psychosocial support and assistance to families. This includes aiding with navigating educational and therapeutic options and facilitating linkages to community support agencies.
Behavioral and Educational Programming Support
Autism Specialists work with families by phone and in clinic sessions to provide behavioral consultation and coaching utilizing empirically-based intervention strategies. Common topics addressed include: dealing with challenging behaviors (e.g. picky eating, tantrums, activity transitions), increasing independent living skills (e.g. dressing, toileting and general hygiene) and implementing augmentative communication strategies, visual schedules and other support aids and behavior contracts. Specialists help to review the appropriateness of a child's educational placement and programming by working with school personnel, making home/school observations and accompanying families at educational team meetings when appropriate.
Autism Specialists conduct monthly trainings with Developmental Behavioral Pediatric clinicians to educate them further about navigating the systems, resources and supports for families affected by ASD. They also present a didactic training for pediatric residents on topics such as communicating with families and evidence-based intervention strategies to treat ASD. They provide outreach and training for hospital clinicians/departments where minimal resources for ASD patients exist to allow for more effective handling of challenging behaviors during routine medical visits.
Community Based Outreach
The Autism Resource Program conducts outreach initiatives for parents and professionals in Boston's most underserved and resource-deprived communities, including the South End, Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston. These hands-on skill building classes have been adapted for teachers, medical professionals and families affected by autism. Past course topics include both basic and advanced general behavior classes, toilet training, picky eating, play and social skills development, Several programs have been presented that target the emerging adolescent populations, including "birds and the bees" sexual education workshops for parents and "Teen Talk," a friendship and social skills development and processing group for teenagers.
Our program has recently developed two brand new initiatives to continue to support our community. One program is a BMC sponsored support group for fathers of children who have autism. This "Dads Group" will meet once per month, starting in January, 2014, at the Grove Hall library in Dorchester. Here, male caregivers will have an opportunity to share their experiences and socialize with other parents.
Another new initiative is the Parents Leadership in Autism Network, or PLAN. This parent leadership network will work with empowered parents, who have been nominated by medical staff and community members, to mentor and provide support to other families of children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. PLAN parents will participate in active trainings throughout the fall months, with "matching" beginning in the spring.
For more information about our community outreach initiatives please visit our website at http://www.bmcautismprogram.com/ or contact us at 617-414-3666; 617-414-3691.
Boston Medical Center
To make an appointment with the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Program or for more information, please call 617-414-4841.