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Past Webinar

This webinar was presented on, Thursday, April 20, 2022, by Stephen Shore, EdD, Teal Benevides, Ph.D., MS, OTR/L, Brenna Maddox, Ph.D., and Shari Jager-Hyman, Ph.D.

Webinar Description: Suicide is a leading cause of premature death for autistic individuals. The autism community has identified suicide prevention as a top priority, yet there is a large evidence gap about best practices to reduce suicide risk in autistic individuals. The presenters discuss a recently funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study comparing the effectiveness of two suicide prevention interventions for autistic adolescents and young adults. The presenters highlight the value of stakeholder engagement and describe effective practices for meaningful and authentic inclusion of autistic individuals and their family members as research partners. They describe how autistic co-researchers have contributed to study design decisions and study team considerations in instrumental ways, and highlight strategies that can be used by other stakeholders to promote meaningful partnerships.

Brenna Maddox, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. As the implementation scientist at TEACCH, her work focuses on improving community services for people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in training and supporting community mental health clinicians, modifying cognitive-behavioral therapy for people on the autism spectrum with anxiety or depression, and preventing suicide in this population. Her research has been supported by the NIMH, PCORI, the Foundation of Hope, and the FAR Fund. Dr. Maddox is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism. She serves on the expert hub team for ECHO Autism: Mental Health. In addition, she is a deputy editor for the journal, Autism in Adulthood, and a co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology’s Autism and Suicide Committee.

Stephen Shore, Ed.D. is a clinical assistant professor at the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University, teaching courses in special education and autism. His research and teaching focuses on matching best practices to the needs of people with autism. Shore is internationally renowned for his presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy and disclosure. His most recent book, College for Students with Disabilities, co-authored with Pavan John Antony, Ph.D., combines personal stories and research with promoting success in higher education. A current board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England, advisory board member of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association (AHANY) and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Shore also serves on the boards of the U.S. Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR and other autism-related organizations.

Teal Benevides, PhD, MS, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, researcher, wife, and mother. She serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Augusta University (AU), and maintains a joint appointment in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health, also at AU. Dr. Benevides is committed to fostering access to services and supports for individuals on the autism spectrum, and working to achieve better health outcomes and participation in meaningful life activities in alignment with priorities identified by autistic people. In her current work, Dr. Benevides aims to address the most pressing medical and mental health priorities faced by the autism community in collaboration with autistic partners. An extension of this work aims to understand and reduce racial/ethnic disparities in care for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Shari Jager-Hyman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Jager-Hyman studies the development and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for suicide prevention, with a particular focus on high-risk groups, including individuals on the autism spectrum. She is currently an MPI on two NIMH R21 projects and a PCORI comparative effectiveness trial, all focused on improving suicide prevention services across health care settings. She is also a Co-Investigator on the NIMH-funded Penn INSPIRE Center and other projects supported by NIMH and the VA. She served as a suicide prevention programmatic consultant for the VA Office of Research Development and has trained clinicians across the country in EBPs for suicide prevention.