Community Bulletin: How Bias Affect Clinician Attitudes About Caregiver Coaching | Spectrum

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to the community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, Spectrumengagement editor.

Our first thread sums up a short story Autism paper on caregiver coaching and how the attitudes of clinicians towards marginalized groups may hamper the evidence-based technique.

Clinicians are expected to observe a caregiver practicing early intervention methods with an autistic child and then give recommendations. But there are disparities between the people who receive this coaching, as the new work shows.

The researchers interviewed 36 early intervention clinicians at publicly funded agencies about how they decide which families will benefit from caregiver guidance. Some clinicians said they were less likely to recommend coaching for families with lower socioeconomic status and fewer resources.

“I would say the biggest challenge is when there are no materials at all. So sometimes we have poor children. There are simply no toys. This child has no playability because there are no toys, ”a clinician told researchers.

Clinicians were also discouraged from coaching when caregivers presented with language barriers, certain cultural beliefs, and competing demands, such as stress, mental health issues, and homelessness.

“I’ve had a few parents who dozed off if they were just exhausted or struggling with something, but the idea of ​​’What if you gave your kid lunch, you say’ More ‘? “Then when I went to the refrigerator with this child, I opened it and it was empty,” said another clinician.

To close this gap, society must give those living in extreme poverty the resources to meet their families’ basic needs, such as food and shelter, the team says. But clinicians also need to be flexible, tailoring play-based interventions that don’t require families to have access to toys, for example. And clinicians, who should come from a variety of backgrounds, should also receive training in implicit bias and anti-racism.

Pablo juarez, co-director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, tweeted that he and his group had “given a lot of thought (and adaptation) to the social determinants of health in our work here in TN.

Diondra Straiton, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, said she had heard similar stories from providers she worked with.

Straiton wrote another tweet that garnered a lot of community attention this week about the importance of reporting accurate data on study participants, especially as a new generation of autism researchers is entering. the domain.

Clare Harrop, assistant professor of paramedical science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, replied that she had previously used the terms “sex” and “gender” incorrectly in the articles, but that she is now hyper aware of the difference due to its shift in research focus. .

Meghan davidson, an assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences and disorders at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, tweeted that an undergraduate student’s research project in her lab could not be completed good because so few articles publish this key demographic information.

That’s it for this week’s community newsletter! If you have any suggestions for any interesting social posts you’ve seen in autism research, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

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