Autism Spectrum Disorder Part IV: Treatment Strategies

Individuals with ASD have a wide range of strengths and weaknesses. ASD is a complex neurobehavioral disorder characterized by impaired social interactions, difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication, rigid routines, repetitive behaviors and limited activities and interests.

This educational series has been developed to provide a comprehensive overview of ASD with the goal of developing an understanding of the disorder and promoting optimal outcomes and compassionate care for these individuals and their families. This activity will discuss the role and principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services, telehealth and evidence-based treatments for ASD.

Learning objectives
At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the different evidence-based treatments for ASD.
  • Explain the role and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services as a form of treatment for children with ASD.
  • Compare and contrast different types of ABA therapy and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).
  • Identify different parent-mediated interventions.
  • Determine the safety profiles of some Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the treatment of ASD.
  • Understand the role that telehealth can play in the treatment of ASD.
  • Describe three different types of speech / language therapies to address the social communication impairment of children with ASD.

Robin K. Blitz, MDRobin K. Blitz, MD
Senior Medical Director
Special Needs Initiative
Phoenix, AZ

Diana Davis-WilsonDiana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA
Chief Executive Advisor, Aspen Behavioral Consulting
Adjunct Professor, Ball State University;
Purdue Global University
Phoenix, AZ

Jenna TurnerJenna Turner, MEd, MS, CCC-SLP
Certified Speech-Language Pathologist
Pediatric Speech & Language Specialists, LLC
Scottsdale, AZ


About the panelists
Robin K. Blitz, MD, is a board-certified developmental/behavioral pediatrician and the senior medical director for the special needs initiative at UnitedHealthcare. Dr. Blitz also continues her developmental pediatric practice at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, and she is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Child Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., followed by a fellowship in developmental/behavioral pediatrics at the University of Maryland.

Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA is a licensed behavior analyst with several years of experience providing consultation and training to families, school districts and organizational personnel nationwide. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science, a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and a Doctorate of Behavior Health with an emphasis on integrated health care management. For over 10 years, Dr. Davis-Wilson served as the clinical director of an Arizona-based autism provider organization, overseeing applied behavior analysis programs for hundreds of children statewide. Through this work, she created an extensive curriculum-based supervision program that included sustainable employment opportunities, staff training and professional development for hundreds of aspiring professionals and students. Dr. Davis-Wilson currently serves on several boards in Arizona, including the Association for Behavior Analysis (AzABA), the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment Autism Advisory Council, the Glendale Community College Behavior Health Sciences Occupational Advisory Board (BHS-OAB) and as a governor-appointed board member with the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. In addition to her local experiences, Dr. Davis-Wilson serves as an adjunct faculty member for universities nationwide and serves as an advisory board member of the Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence (BHCOE). She has a passion for working closely with other professional organizations, providing education, advocacy and public policy guidance on early access to care, best practices and evidence-based treatment. Additionally, Dr. Davis-Wilson has a passion for providing law enforcement training in the areas of autism, developmental disabilities, crisis response and behavior analysis.

Jenna Turner has worked with individuals with exceptional needs for over 12 years. She received both her Bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education and her Master’s degree in Special Education with an endorsement in Assistive Technology from Northern Arizona University. She was a special education teacher for several years before returning to the University of Arizona for her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Jenna has extensive experience working with augmentative and alternative communication, as well as a strong background in developmental disorders and literacy. She holds an Arizona Speech-Language Pathologist License and Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Sarah Chart, RN
Senior Director
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Rebecca Gleason, RN
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Melanie Majerus
Director, Special Needs Initiative
Eden Prairie, MN

Tina Rydland, PharmD
Crystal Clear Rx
Denver, CO

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education (OHE) requires all those in the control of activity content to disclose their relevant financial relationships. An individual has a relevant financial relationship if such person (or his/her spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest whose products or services relate to the activity content. OHE ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Ms. Chart and Ms. Gleason have indicated that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.
The remaining activity faculty or planners have no financial relationships to disclose.

Method of participation
There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this activity. For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education (CE) credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.

Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the activity, which includes the following:

  • Completing the entire activity; and
  • Completing the pre- and post-activity assessments, activity evaluation and application for certificate of credit.

You must be logged into your account to participate in this activity. Get started by clicking "Begin" and viewing the "CE Info"; then follow the prompts at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the activity, you will be able to view, save or print your certificate of participation. The Area of Practice you indicated in your profile corresponds with your certificate type. A complete listing of all of your activities can be found under "My Account," "My Activities."

Method for calculating CE credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content.

Accreditation statement
Joint Accreditation LogoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealthcare. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Credit designation statements
IPCE Credit LogoThis activity was planned by and for the health care team, and learners will receive 1.00 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credits for learning and change.

The participant will be awarded up to 1.00 contact hour(s) of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy technicians
This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hour ([0.10] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 1.00 contact hour.
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-9999-18-013-H04-P/T

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Case managers
The Commission for Case Manager Certification has approved this program for a maximum of 1.00 clock hour(s) for Certified Case Managers (CCM).

Counselors, psychologists and/or marriage and family therapists
This event is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars.

Satisfactory completion
Participants must have attended the entire Web-based activity and completed an evaluation to receive a certificate. Partial credit is not available.

R. Cassidy Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. R. Cassidy Seminars maintains responsibility for this program. 1.00 CE hour.

Counselors and/or marriage and family therapists
CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists.
IL: Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, #168-000141, (1) hours.
OH: Provider approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board for (1) clock hour, #RCST110701.
TX: Approved CE Sponsor through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists, Provider #151, 1 CE hour.
Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or ASWB approval, or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals, such as those listed below. Check with your board to be sure. The Ohio board includes counselors and MFTs.

Disability access
If you require Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations, please contact our office 14 days or more before the event. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate prior notification.

Please note: Licensing boards change regulations often and, while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board's approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been preapproved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization from which they wish to obtain credit.

This activity is jointly provided by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealthcare.

Commercial support
There was no commercial support received for this activity.

Hardware/software requirements
To view this activity, you will need Internet Explorer 7.0+ or Firefox 3.0+ with Windows Media Player 9+, RealPlayer 12+ or Adobe Flash Player 9+. Be sure to disable any pop-up blocking software prior to beginning this activity.

Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of case managers, counselors, educators, nurses, nurse practitioners, PAs, physicians, psychologists, therapists and other health care professionals (HCPs) who have an interest in treatment strategies for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 CCMC - General - Case Managers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.00 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.00 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.00 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.00 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.00 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.00 CCMC - General - Case Managers
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