Strong Kids

Plugged In

Mar. 21, 2017

Autism research at URMC means quicker adoption of new therapies, and better outcomes for patients

If you’re really good — and a little bit lucky — it can happen in about a decade. That’s how long it takes promising clinical research to turn into widely-accepted medical treatment.

There are good reasons for this, of course. Clinical trials take years, and publishing research data in a medical journal usually requires several rounds of revisions and editing to ensure the data’s quality. Then, once the information is out there, it takes a while for the majority of the medical community to adopt a new practice.

Daniel DayoAll of this serves to show why the Behavioral Interventions for Families (BIFF) clinic, which launched in 2011, was so remarkable. Only two years had passed since Tristram Smith, Ph.D., joined with several researchers from universities across the nation to embark on a clinical trial that would test whether children with Autism Spectrum Disorder could benefit if their parents underwent rigorous training designed to manage their behavior.

But early results were so successful that the department moved quickly to turn the research methods into clinical practice. While clinics such as BIFF still may not reach other areas for years, families in the Rochester community are already benefiting.

Research has long been a cornerstone of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and early adoption of programs such as BIF are among the benefits. Even treatments that aren’t developed in Rochester can reach our community early because our faculty are so closely plugged in to various national research efforts.

That means earlier results for patients. Daniel Deyo, a 2016 Miracle Kid, was among those to benefit from BIF. Daniel, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, struggled through his early years, throwing tantrums that his mother, Fauna, struggled to control. But after Fauna began implementing some of the methods she learned in BIF, Daniel’s behavior improved tremendously — to the point where he was able to return to elementary school.

“It changed our lives,” said Fauna Deyo.