Autism Intervention Network on Behavioral Health Conference

Dr. David Mandell is one of the principal investigators in the Autism Intervention Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B;, which currently is working on a project focused on improving access to care and school transitions for families with children with autism spectrum disorder from under-resourced backgrounds. Each year, the AIR-B network hosts a community conference to disseminate knowledge about autism, local resources, and supports for families as they navigate the behavioral health and educational service systems. In October of 2016, CMHPSR had the opportunity to host the community conference at the Free Library of Philadelphia for 178 participants and vendors. The conference was entitled “Strengthening the Bond: Families Living with Autism in our Community” and included free resources, a catered lunch, and childcare.

At the conference, a range of speakers discussed topics including: parent perspectives across the lifespan; making friends, sexuality, and safety for adolescents with ASD; making friends, social skills, and community involvement for children with ASD; inclusion and school placement; improved communication between families and schools; understanding and developing a child’s individualized education plan (IEP); IEP goal-writing; and transition planning for life after high school for individuals with ASD.

Speakers included self-advocates, parents of individuals with ASD, and representatives from local community organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Autism Research, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Vision for Equality, SPIN, the Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership (PEAL) Center, and Pennsylvania’s Education for All Coalition (PEAC). Additionally, several nationally recognized autism researchers affiliated with the AIR-B network presented, including Dr. Connie Kasari, Dr. Tristram Smith, Dr. Aubyn Stahmer, and CMHSPR’s Dr. David Mandell.

CMHPSR is very proud of the efforts made by the entire team to make this event a success, and we hope you enjoy these pictures from the event!


**Please note: All participants shown in these images signed a consent form to be photographed by Penn Medicine**