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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

There are well-documented gaps between evidence-based interventions (EBIs) developed and tested in controlled research settings and those delivered in routine, community-based care. The field of implementation science has developed in response to identified gaps to study methods to promote the uptake and sustainment of EBIs in community care. Community mental health (MH) services play an important role in caring for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan who have co-occurring psychiatric conditions. This chapter summarizes over a decade of community-engaged research aimed to (a) characterize MH services for children with ASD, including the training needs of therapists and clinical needs of children with ASD receiving care; (b) develop the AIM HI (An Individualized Mental Health Intervention for ASD) intervention, a package of well-established, evidence-based behavioral strategies designed to reduce challenging behaviors in children served in MH service settings; (c) test the impact of training therapists to deliver AIM HI on child outcomes; (d) identify potential influences on implementation; and (e) test the impact of different implementation strategies to enhance therapist delivery of AIM HI. The chapter includes directions for future research including applying the AIM HI development model to older individuals with ASD and other community service systems and integrating implementation science approaches earlier in the pipeline of research-to-practice translation.

Keywords: implementation science, mental health services, autism, effectiveness research, evidence-based interventions, community services

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