New online tool provides insight for parents of children with autism

UMMS interactive guide teaches parents to help children 'learn how to learn'

By Bryan Goodchild and Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

April 02, 2013

A new interactive online tool designed to teach parents how to help their children with autism develop and progress will be unveiled by UMass Medical School as part of its “Light it Up Blue” event recognizing Autism Awareness Month on Tuesday, April 2, which is World Autism Awareness Day.

Discovering Behavioral Intervention: A Parent’s Interactive Guide to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) was created by autism and behavioral experts at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMMS. Rigorously tested by parents and educational professionals, the guide teaches parents to understand and use evidence-based ABA practices.

“As a parent, when you first get a diagnosis of autism for your child, there’s so much information out there. You need a comprehensive source that can directly affect your child’s development and progress,” said Maura Buckley, MPA, product manager at UHealthSolutions, the UMMS affiliate that will market the guide and related products via its new UDiscovering website. Buckley is also the mother of two children on the autism spectrum. “Discovering Behavioral Intervention is a clear, self-paced way for a parent to learn about ABA, which is the most effective and proven treatment for children with autism.”

Through 10 interactive, self-paced instructional modules led by six parent guides, the program also gives an inside look at families coping with the challenges of raising a child with autism.

“Many children [on the autism spectrum] need to learn how to learn,” said Elaine Gabovitch, MPA, instructor in family medicine & community health and director of family and community partnerships at the Shriver Center who is also the mother of a child with autism. “ABA opens up a whole new world to them and helps them move forward when often, for children on the spectrum, there is no forward moving at certain ages.”

Related links on UMassMedNow:
UMass Medical School will 'Light It Up Blue' for autism awareness
Passionate advocate links community to Shriver Center