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WesternU's FACE: A Team Approach to Autism

POMONA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/10/13 -- Western University of Health Sciences faculty members are addressing the fragmented approach to autism by forming a new organization on campus, FACE: Faculty for Autism Collaboration and Education. Website: http://www.westernu.edu/face.

The goal of this interprofessional team of educators, clinicians and researchers is to promote integrated perspectives, activities, and resources that serve to enhance the lives of individuals with ASD and their significant others, to help optimize function and promote the highest possible quality of life.

"We're coming together to figure out what we can do as an interprofessional health sciences university," said FACE Chair Gail Singer-Chang, PsyD, MA, MS, Assistant Dean, Interdisciplinary Professional Education, Chair of the Department of Social Medicine and Healthcare Leadership, and Director, Institute for Medical Educators. "We feel we have a really unique culture here at WesternU that lends itself to being able to integrate very diverse perspectives, and if there's anything that needs that integration, it's autism."

FACE brings together educators, researchers and clinicians from WesternU's nine colleges so they have a better understanding of each other's work. One of FACE's goals is for researchers to see what a clinical assessment looks like, as opposed to it being an abstract idea. In return, clinicians gain a better understanding of how and why researchers are coming up with their research questions, Singer-Chang said.

The first major project by FACE is the show "Autism Intersection," which debuts today, Jan. 10, 2013, on the Autism Channel, http://theautismchannel.tv/. The show depicts WesternU faculty members interacting with children with autism and problem-solving in a multidisciplinary way in the moment.

"We're hoping in the diversity of what we've put together and in the critical thinking process as we work collaboratively, everyone will see something that will resonate with them," said FACE Co-Chair Dee Schilling, PT, PhD, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy Education in the College of Allied Health Professions. "Not everything will resonate, but maybe one little thing, and they will say, 'That's my child. That's my life. That's me.'"

For children with autism, each day is a new day. What worked yesterday may not work today, Schilling said. FACE is a group of individuals who have experienced that frustration and the realization that things have to be done differently.

"We have to become a community. It takes a village to raise a child with autism and to do it well," she said. "We live our lives going to these siloed individuals who continue to tell us what our children can't do. And what we're all really looking for is for that collective group that instead points out what our children can do, and shows them all the possibilities."

Click here for more information: http://wsprod.westernu.edu/news/nr_detail.jsp?id=15887&groupname=AllNews.

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