Free Website Offers Videos of Expert Advice, Parent Perspectives
MELBOURNE, FLA. — The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology has launched AutismAdvisor.org, an extraordinary resource for parents of and caregivers for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
With more than 100 videos featuring experts from the Scott Center and Florida Tech’s distinguished Applied Behavior Analysis Program, as well as parents discussing their challenges, experiences and successes with ASD family members, AutismAdvisor.org will quickly become an essential toolkit and resource.
“AutismAdvisor.org is dedicated to providing parents and caregivers fast, free access to information they need to improve the lives of their children and families,” said Mary Beth Kenkel, dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. “There are videos and other resources on early diagnosis, evaluating therapy options, teaching living skills and many other topics.”
The Scott Center has been extremely successful in providing services to families in Central Florida; autism treatment conducted at the Scott Center is recognized as some of the best in the world. However, with 1 in 68 children being diagnosed, the need for treatment is far greater than what the brick-and-mortar facility can provide.
Scott Center Executive Director Michael Kelley said utilizing staff and faculty at the Scott Center and Florida Tech’s School of Psychology made perfect sense – as did placing that information on the web.
“By leveraging these experts, we’re in a unique position to provide valuable information on increased access to care, improving how quickly children can get care and also educating the community,” he said. “Putting it online enables the Scott Center to reach and serve more people.”
To develop AutismAdvisor.org, Scott Center officials conducted in-depth focus groups with more than 100 parents and caregivers. Participants said that while the Internet could serve as a useful source of information, they often found themselves overwhelmed with the amount of content available and how technical it was, and wondering about whether it was trustworthy.
Those concerns are allayed at AutismAdvisor.org. Presented in highly focused videos, many under 10 minutes, and organized by broad topics such as, “Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Treatment Options for Autism” and “Living Skills for People with Autism,” the site offers the information families want in a format that will ensure it becomes the go-to resource.
And a series of Parent Perspectives videos explores the experiences of parents of ASD children, with topics including how parents are often afraid to get a diagnosis for their child, useful therapies, and the challenges of being a Mom to an ASD child.
The Scott Center for Autism Treatment opened in 2009 as a result of a generous financial gift from the Edward W. Scott Jr. family of Merritt Island, Fla., and a substantial federal grant supported by then-U.S. Congressman Dave Weldon.
The Scott family also made a significant financial contribution to the development of the AutismAdvisor.org website. Mr. Scott, who co-founded the software company BEA Systems and has been an visionary leader and executive in the technology industry for two decades, served as a key advisor during the creation and development of AutismAdvisor.org.
“Since its founding, the Scott Center has successfully provided a host of important services to Central Florida families, from parent education to structured behavioral therapies,” Kelley said. “But given the statewide and national shortage of practitioners and service providers specializing in autism diagnosis and treatment, timely access to necessary information remains a challenge. AutismAdvisor.org is meant to help address this growing problem.”
EDITORS/PRODUCERS: Sample videos are available upon request.