Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


Eighth Annual Autism Conference; Louisville, KY; 2014

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #4
CE Offered: PSY

Practical Psychopharmacology of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Saturday, March 1, 2014
9:15 AM–10:05 AM
Grand Ballroom A-B (Suite Tower)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Christopher J. McDougle, M.D.
Chair: Naomi Swiezy (HANDS in Autism, IU School of Medicine)
CHRISTOPHER J. MCDOUGLE (Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children)
Christopher J. McDougle, M.D., is the director of the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). The Lurie Center for Autism combines comprehensive care with advanced research to better meet the needs of autistic individuals from early childhood through adulthood. He also serves as the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor in the field of autism at Harvard Medical School. A graduate of Valparaiso University, Dr. McDougle earned his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. He subsequently completed a residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. After seven years at Yale, Dr. McDougle returned to Indiana University School of Medicine. In 2000, he was named chairman of the Department of Psychiatry. He has been awarded two Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), an Independent Investigator Award from NARSAD, a grant from the Theodore and Vada Stanley Research Foundation, a Research Unit on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) contract, a RUPP-Psychosocial Intervention (PI) grant and additional research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health for the study of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. McDougle was elected to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 1995. He was twice chosen as Teacher of the Year by the Yale psychiatry residents. In 2002, McDougle was selected as a recipient of the 12th annual Nancy C.A. Roeske, M.D., Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education from the American Psychiatric Association, and in 2007 he was selected as a recipient of the annual Irma Bland Award for Excellence in Teaching Residents, also by the American Psychiatric Association. In 2003, he was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Significant progress has been made in the development of medications for treating many of the behavioral target symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have been published demonstrating the effectiveness of medications for motor hyperactivity and inattention; irritability (aggression, self-injury, severe tantrums); and to a limited extent for interfering repetitive, ritualistic behavior. Essentially no systematic research studies have been conducted for sleep disturbance (other than melatonin), depression/bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders, despite the fact that these conditions commonly co-occur in individuals with ASD. To date, no medications have been found to consistently improve the core social impairment, communication impairment and repetitive, ritualistic behavior characteristic of ASD. Information from the published literature will be reviewed, ideas for future directions will be presented, and questions from attendees will be entertained.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, practitioners, graduate students, and anyone interested in learning more about medications for treating many of the behavioral target symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants will be able to: --Better understand the target symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that may be amenable to pharmacological treatment. --Better understand the type of medication that may be helpful for treating the target symptoms associated with ASD. --Better understand the potential adverse events associated with medications used to treat the target symptoms associated with ASD.
Keyword(s): Medication treatment



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