What’s this project about?
It is well known that children and adolescents with autism experience high rates of mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and externalizing behavioural issues (Simonoff et al., 2008). Despite this, autism and mental health services in Ontario are often disconnected and many clients with autism may struggle to benefit fully from developmental services because of mental health difficulties (Mowat et al., 2019). This project aims to understand autism service providers' confidence, attitudes, knowledge, intentions, and experiences in treating clients with autism and co-occurring mental health challenges.
How did we go about doing this project?
Dr. Weiss and his research team at York University worked with Children's Mental Health Ontario to develop the current survey.1 The survey was reviewed and piloted with a team of autism service providers and leaders in Ontario before service providers were recruited to participate via email. The online survey was completed by public and private autism providers (n = 448) across Ontario and captured information about their experiences in, and opinions about, delivering their services to autistic clients with and without mental health problems.
What will we do with our research findings?
Through collaboration with Children's Mental Health Ontario, the findings from this study will improve our understanding of autism providers’ attitudes, knowledge, confidence, and training needs in delivering their services to autistic clients with and without mental health problems. Research findings may also be used to inform future training programs and initiatives to improve access to effective care for clients with co-occurring challenges.
Results of this study will be summarized into provincial and regional reports, submitted for publication in an academic journal, and presented at national or international conferences.
What is the next step?
Data collection is complete for the Autism Service Provider Survey.
Stay tuned for study results and updates!
Want to know more about this project?
For more information, please feel free to contact, Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Principal Investigator on the study, at email@example.com.
This project is supported by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
1 The online survey included several questionnaires by Maddox et al. (2019), adapted for this study. We thank Dr. Brenna Maddox for permission to use aspects of her survey.