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Adm Policy Ment Health. 2012 Sep;39(5):365-73. doi: 10.1007/s10488-011-0355-y.

Therapist perspectives on community mental health services for children with autism spectrum disorders.

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Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, 3020 Children's Way (MC 5033), San Diego, CA 92123, USA.


This mixed methods study examined therapist perspectives on serving children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in community mental health (CMH) clinics. One hundred therapists completed a survey about their experiences with this population and 17 participated in subsequent focus groups to clarify and expand survey results. Results indicate that CMH therapists serve many children with ASD for behavior or other psychiatric problems and perceive serving this population as challenging and frustrating due to their limited training. Therapists are highly motivated for comprehensive ASD training on ASD characteristics and intervention strategies. These data were used to tailor and package evidence-based intervention strategies for delivery in CMH services.

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