National Advisory Committee Update
From the Co-Director
April 18, 2011 Prism Newsletter
By Paula C. Durbin-Westby
On March 16, 2011, Autism NOW chaired the first meeting of the National Advisory Committee. The National Advisory Committee is made up of people who identify as having a disability, parents, and other stakeholders, including researchers, educators and other professionals. One of the ongoing tasks of the National Advisory Committee is to assist with selecting and reviewing materials for the Autism NOW website. At our first meeting, the National Advisory Committee talked about selection criteria for materials and discussed the concept of evidence-based research. Then, the National Advisory Committee formed a subcommittee to decide on the selection criteria process for website materials. Based upon this criteria process, the National Advisory Committee will be quite active in overseeing current website features and materials. Autism NOW and the National Advisory Committee have already started using this criteria process to determine which new resources and information will go on the website; so check back to the website regularly to see new resources and materials that we have added!
One important part of all National Advisory Committee meetings is having access to communication that benefits all committee members. All National Advisory Committees feature CART, Communication Access Real-time Translation. This service means that meetings are held over the phone and online at the same time. A person trained in CART listens to the phone call and types in everything that is being said on the phone almost as fast as it is said. So, National Advisory Committee members can see the words online. Also, there is also a chat room for people to use if they communicate in writing instead of through the phone. After the meeting, both the transcript of the phone call and the chat room are sent to everyone on the call so that all National Advisory Committee members can know what has been said during the meeting. In general, National Advisory Committee members have made positive comments about the communication arrangements and have participated in survey that will make future meetings even more accessible. Find out more about CART.
Paula C. Durbin-Westby is the Co-Director of the Autism NOW Center.