Autism Spectrum Ambassador Program (ASAP) in the ED

2019-12-09 00:55:47 | BioPortfolio


The investigators are evaluating the implementation and the effectiveness of a medical student staffed support program (ASAP) for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder coming into Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital Emergency Department. The ASAP program involves training and assigning a medical student as an Ambassador to help advocate for the special needs of a child with ASD. This study is designed to compare patient satisfaction of children and families who are assigned an Ambassador to those who are not assigned an Ambassador during their time in the Emergency Department. The secondary objectives are to measure overall medical student satisfaction with the program, medical student career interests before and after participation, and medical student comfort level interacting with children with ASD before and after participation.


The Autism Spectrum Ambassador Program (ASAP) is a medical student staffed program designed to improve the experience for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder coming into the Children's Hospital Emergency Department (ED) for an acute visit. This program will pair an interested and trained medical student with a family whose child presents to the Children's Hospital ED and identifies as having Autism and requiring special accommodations to improve cooperation and procedure tolerance.

Patients will be identified by the study team members, who are ages 30 months to 17years with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Participants will be recruited through posters and flyers in the Pediatric Emergency Room Waiting area; families who are interested in enrolling will enter the research study. Interested caregivers will be asked to complete a confidential survey that will identify areas that can be accommodated during their visit. This survey will then be automatically be printed for the ED staff and ambassador to review. The student will meet the family in the ED and accompany the family through their visit; the student will print the child's Accommodation Plan, place it at the bedside, and make it available for each member of the treatment team.

Students will be trained to chart a child's Accommodation Plan for each member of the treatment team and place it at bedside, as well to advocate on behalf of the child and their family, communicate with the staff (including nurses, primary care providers (physicians and Physician Assistants (PAs)), and techs (radiology, phlebotomy, transport). To the extent possible, the investigators hope that having a student advocate, educate staff in the ED, and implement changes as needed will improve patient satisfaction with the experience and improve the ease with which a procedure can be carried out for a child with ASD. Students will also be queried as to the experience and survey data will be used to improve the program over time.

Training will be completed so that all members of the treatment team will be aware of the program and aware of the possible accommodations. Treatment team members will be provided additional training to enhance the success of the ASAP program and all treatment team members will be encouraged to work together for the best possible outcome for all patients. Treatment team services include: nursing, ED physicians, PAs, technicians (radiology, phlebotomy, transport), registration, and to the extent possible, the personnel involved in the care of these children.

Study Design


Autism Spectrum Disorder


Assigned Ambassador


Penn State Hershey Medical Center
United States


Not yet recruiting


Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-12-09T00:55:47-0500

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