For April’s Autism Acceptance Month, Drexel News Blog is highlighting experts and projects from Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. Research from the Autism Institute is built around a public health science approach to understanding and addressing the challenges of autism spectrum disorders by discovering, developing and sharing population-level and community-based outcomes.
Elisabeth Sheridan, PhD, is an associate professor and director of the Clinical Core in the Autism Institute, with expertise in diagnostic assessment and intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Sheridan is a certified trainer in evidence-based tools for autistic individuals, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, and holds advanced training certifications in several intervention modalities, including RUBI Parent Coaching for preschool and elementary-aged children, Secret Agent Society for school-age children and PEERS social skills group intervention for adolescents and young adults.
As director of the Clinical Core, Sheridan and her team provide clinical expertise for the research and clinical initiatives at the Autism Institute and collaborate alongside community agencies serving autistic individuals and their families.
“There are many known barriers and factors that complicate moving evidence-based practices into community settings,” said Sheridan. “Our team is currently partnering with several agencies and schools in the Philadelphia community to incorporate assessment and intervention practices that are empirically supported, time-limited, cost effective and feasible for clinicians.”
Additionally, Sheridan is committed to projects devoted to training students and clinicians in ASD best practices.
“I am mentoring students from Drexel’s College of Medicine, who are developing a training program to enhance resident physician education about ASD with the goal of improving medical care for autistic individuals as they transition from pediatric to adult healthcare settings,” said Sheridan. “We also have training programs focused on providing support for clinicians in the community. In 2021, we established a new virtual training program for individuals assessing and diagnosing ASD across ages and developmental levels using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). Our Clinical Core team continues to develop new training initiatives based on the needs of the community and is actively working to expand community collaborations in the broader Philadelphia region and beyond.”
Sheridan believes Autism Acceptance Month is important because while there has been a notable increase in autism awareness across the last decade, many autistic individuals and their families continue to experience challenges finding acceptance and strong support systems in their communities.
“The focus on increasing Autism Acceptance this month is important, though it is an effort that needs to be ongoing throughout the year,” said Sheridan. “The notion that someone you know loves someone with autism highlights the need for us to not only better understand both the strengths and challenges related to autism, but also how we can make our communities more inclusive for all people.”
Media interested in speaking with Sheridan should contact Annie Korp, news manager, at 215-571-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.