Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on researching Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) over the last three decades. Nonetheless, many people with ASD and related conditions are seeing little or no benefit in their day to day lives.
We need programs and policies that draw on research, and research that is designed to improve programs and policies. We need programs that are not only effective, but that we can replicate and sustain. We need programs that everyone can access regardless of their background, and that we can scale up to reach everyone living with ASD.
Peter Doehring, PhD
Founder and Director
Understanding the Implementation Gap
What we know versus what we do
I am fascinated by the many ways science has improved our lives. This has fueled my passion for translating what we have learned through research into improved services and outcomes for children and families living with ASD and related conditions. I have been excited by the explosion of autism research over the past 30 years, and parallel changes in policy, advocacy, and practice. And yet, in my personal and professional life, I continue to see remarkable gaps between what we know and what we do. This presents us with a tremendous opportunity to forge a new science, practice, and policy surrounding implementation.
Implementation improves lives now
When we focus research on discovering causes and characteristics of ASD, we can only hope that this will eventually result in better practices. But when we focus on implementation, we have an immediate impact: we help people living with ASD right now, right here in our own community. Each decision we make about how best to help our children, students, patients, and clients with ASD is an opportunity to translate research and policy into improved practices and outcomes. Each decision made by leaders about the services, training, and policy their programs provide can multiply this impact, to the benefit of everyone they serve.
Stories, opinions, lessons, steps...
Advocates and leaders are eager for specific ideas about how to create, improve, or expand programs, and to help people with enjoy fulfilling lives. Stories on this site are case studies of people that I have known, and of programs which I have led, consulted to, learned about, or just imagined. Stories provide the context for opinions about specific and important questions. Stories and opinions also frame lessons drawing straight lines from research to your practice, outlining simple steps to improve your programs, and offering other lessons learned from successful programs. Taken together, these are the guideposts needed to create better roadmaps to improving lives for everyone living with ASD and related conditions.
Guideposts to Better Outcomes