Suicide Screening and Prevention in the Autism Community: New Developments, New Perspectives

Suicide Screening and Prevention in the Autism Community: New Developments, New Perspectives


pdf File Combined ASD Suicide Screening and Prevention.pdf (2,589KB) [download]

Archived Recording
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
11:30 p.m - 1:00 p.m
Location: Webinar

Webinar Description:

An expanding body of research into suicidality and autism documents that individuals with ASD are at a significantly increased risk of suicide. Furthermore, traditional screening tools and mental health interventions have limited use in working with individuals with ASD.

This webinar began with an understanding of the issue from the perspective of the autistic self-advocacy community, exploring the challenges to screening and prevention within the mental health service system as it is today. We also reviewed the epidemiological background of suicide as a national and international public health crisis and what we know about how it impacts the ASD/ID population. We heare about an NIMH study underway aimed at developing a suicide risk screening tool for youth and adults with ASD/ID/DD. Finally, we reviewed specific interventions to address suicidality in autistic children and adults followed by strategies for promoting positive mental health for individuals with ASD who are at risk. 


Sara LutermanSara Luterman, MFA is Program Assistant on the AUCD Technical Assistance team for the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). Prior to joining AUCD, Sara helped conduct neurology research and worked as an editorial assistant at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also founded a neurodiversity blog, NOS Magazine, which helped her to win the 2016 Advocates in Disability Award, funded by the HSC Foundation and the Mitsubishi America Foundation. In addition to her work at AUCD, Sara volunteers for ASAN's Autistic Campus Inclusion, mentoring autistic self-advocates and activists on college campuses. She is also on the board of the Association for Autistic Community.


Lisa M. Horowitz, PhD, MPH is a Staff Scientist / Pediatric Psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Intramural Research Program at the National Institutes of Health. She serves as a senior attending with a specialty in pediatric psychology on the Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service in the Hatfield Clinical Research Center at NIH. After obtaining her doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University, Dr. Horowitz completed a Pediatric Clinical Fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital, as well as a Health Service Research Fellowship in the Clinical Effectiveness Program at Harvard Medical School, and obtained a Masters in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. The major focus of Dr. Horowitz's research has been in the area of suicide prevention with an emphasis on detection of suicide risk in the medical setting. In 2012, she served as a Topic Expert on suicide screening for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. She was lead PI on the development of two suicide screening instruments for the pediatric emergency department (ED), the Risk of Suicide Questionnaire (RSQ), and the Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ), a tool created to screen pediatric medical/surgical patients for suicide risk in the ED setting. Dr. Horowitz is currently lead PI on five NIH studies focused on creating tools to guide non-psychiatric clinicians in the detection of suicide risk in the medical setting, including an instrument to identify youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities who may be at risk for suicide.


Audrey Thurm, Ph.D., is a staff scientist in PDN. She is a licensed child clinical psychologist who specializes in autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She received training at DePaul University and Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and conducted a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has been at NIMH since 2002, serving in the extramural program until 2006, as chief of both the Autism and Social Behavior Program, and the Compulsive Repetitive Behaviors Program. In 2006 she moved to the intramural program to help launch the autism research program. She has expertise in longitudinal studies and an interest in markers of the early diagnosis of autism.


Julie SteckJulie Steck, Ph.D., HSPP is a psychologist with CRG/Children's Resource Group, a multi-specialty behavioral health practice. Dr. Steck specializes in the evaluation of children and adolescents with developmental, learning, emotional, and behavioral concerns. In addition to evaluation, Dr. Steck focuses on treatment of children and adolescents through individual therapy with the child/adolescent and through working the family and school personnel to assist them in adapting to the child's needs. Areas of expertise include Autism Spectrum Disorders, mood disorders, ADHD and learning disorders. Dr. Steck has worked with children for 40 years as a teacher, school psychologist and psychologist.



Please Note:

  • There is NO cost for this webinar.
  • CEUs are not offered for this webinar.
  • This webinar will be archived.

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