DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders first described over sixty years ago and diagnosed on the basis of significant impairments in social, communicative, cognitive and behavioral functioning. Symptoms persist throughout life, disrupt families and lead to significant disability; thus, ASD presents major public health challenges. There is no cure and no global consensus regarding which intervention strategy is most effective, with chronic management often being required. Given the complexity of ASD and associated therapies, it is clear that teachers, clinicians and families need guidance in selecting appropriate treatments. We propose to increase the impact, use and application of two AHRQ comparative effectiveness (CER) products that reference ASD therapeutics, adapting both their content and delivery mechanism to improve their penetration, impact and use at the health and educational systems, clinical practice, caregiver and family levels. Our multidisciplinary team brings together faculty from the School of Cinematic Arts, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California with a nationwide network of experts on ASD therapeutics. Our collective expertise is in academy award-winning documentary film production; health communication; quantitative evaluation; and behavioral and pharmacologic ASD treatments. We will develop, implement, and evaluate highly interactive and engaging evidence-based interventions as customizations of CER products that target important audiences, public systems and settings that are not already specifically targeted or reached by the original CER review products. We specifically will target important clinician, parent and teacher audiences of over 16,000 stakeholders that include: (1) a nationwide sample of 10,000 parents of ASD children in the Interactive Autism Network (IAN); (2) a difficult-to-reach population of 350 parents of ASD children, primarily from traditionally underserved minority groups in the city of Philadelphia; (3) 4,000 teachers (over half from minority populations) in three large Southern California public school districts who have contact with ASD children; and (4) 2,000 Medicaid-licensed clinicians across Pennsylvania who treat ASD under the auspices of the Department of Public Welfare. We will employ novel methods of adaption and innovative mechanisms through technology-based and social networking dissemination channels to create highly interactive and emotionally engaging documentary vignettes that can be rapidly and easily downloaded from an internet website. Our dissemination approach will incorporate pre- and post- intervention exposure to quantitatively evaluate the efficacy and impact of our intervention in the targeted audiences. Our novel approaches to both content and delivery will enhance the translation of new scientific ASD evidence in an accelerated format and the integration of this evidence into practice and decision-making in families, the education system, the health care system and public policy. All work products will be broadly shared with the scientific community.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: We will develop, implement, and evaluate highly interactive and engaging evidence-based interventions for disseminating information about treatments for autism and autism spectrum disorders to over 16,000 individuals in important clinician, parent and teacher audiences. We partner with a social networking site for parents, public school districts and a state healthcare delivery system. Our novel approaches to both content and delivery will enhance the translation of new scientific evidence on ASD therapeutics in an accelerated format and its integration into practice and decision-making in families, the education system, the health care system and public policy.