Autism Spectrum Disorder—New Research, Diagnosis and Management

This activity is of benefit to healthcare providers (HCPs) who primarily treat patients with ASD, as well as providers who are not providing direct treatment to patients with ASD. An update is provided about the newest research on the etiology and neuroanatomy, the diagnostic work-up, and the importance of early intervention, as well as strategies on how to optimally communicate and provide medical treatment to patients with Autism to ensure compliance.

Target Audience

Healthcare providers of all specialties may benefit from the information presented.

Learning Objectives

The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rose from 1 in 68 children in 2010 to about 1 in 54 children in 2016 according to CDC statistics. As children with ASD transition into adolescence and adulthood, they will interact with various medical subspecialties to receive medical care and attention similar to their non-ASD counterparts. Healthcare providers (HCPs) who primarily treat patients with ASD and the comorbidities related to autism will learn about the newest research on the etiology and neuroanatomy of Autism, become familiar with the diagnostic work up of autism and understand the importance of early intervention, and learn management of the psychiatric comorbidities of patients with ASD. HCPs who are not providing direct treatment to patients with ASD for their condition will also benefit from this presentation as they will learn strategies and tools on how to optimally communicate and provide medical treatment to patients with Autism to ensure compliance.

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner should be able to:

  • Describe the major symptoms of Autism and identify the common neuroanatomical abnormalities associated with Autism;
  • Demonstrate the steps needed to arrive at the diagnosis of Autism for children;
  • Describe the core components of evidence based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy in treatment of youth with Autism and addressing potential barriers to care;
  • Implement specific communication strategies while treating patients with Autism to increase treatment compliance and patient satisfaction; 
  • Treat comorbid conditions of Autism including depression, anxiety and psychotic disorders.

Additional Information

Southern Medical Association
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Southern Medical Association (SMA) requires instructors, planners, managers, and all other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose conflicts of interest (COI) with ineligible entities within the last 24 months of the development of this activity. All identified COIs are thoroughly vetted and mitigated prior to the release of the activity. SMA is committed to providing its learners with high quality activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.

The following individuals have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.


Anuja Mehta, MD
Anuja Mehta, MD, is a board certified adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She completed her Undergraduate, Medical School and Residency training at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Florida. She went to Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School to complete a fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Mehta has been with the UCF College of Medicine since 2016. She served as Assistant Clerkship Director for a year, followed by serving as the Clerkship Director of Psychiatry for another 18 months. She took over the leadership of UCF/HCA’s Greater Orlando Psychiatry Residency program in August 2019. She currently maintains her clinical practice at Nemours Children’s Hospital. She has authored peer-reviewed publications, a book chapter, and presented numerous posters and workshops on topics ranging from ADHD, childhood anxiety, narrative medicine, and promoting resilience and wellness.

Dr. Mehta is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Florida Psychiatric Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training. 

Lisa Spector, MD
Lisa Spector, MD, is a certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in Child Abuse Pediatrics, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and General Pediatrics. She is Division Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida and is a Professor of Pediatrics through University of Central Florida.

Shirin Hasan, MD
Shirin Hasan, MD, is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. Dr. Hasan has been board-certified in adult psychiatry and pediatrics. She completed her Undergraduate, Medical School and Residency Training in the Triple Board Program (Pediatrics, Adult Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington, Kentucky, where she also served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Hasan has worked in multiple clinical and leadership positions in a variety of clinical settings including Kaiser Permanente in Maryland, as a civilian physician with the United States Navy and Hope Haven Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida,where she was an integral part of the team that diagnosed and treated Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Dr. Hasan has been with the Nemours Children’s Health System since 2009. Dr. Hasan serves as a site director at Nemours for UCF Psychiatry Residency Program. She serves on the expert review board of, reviewing and writing numerous articles for parents, pediatric patients and educators on a wide range of psychiatric topics including ADHD, OCD, Anxiety and Tourette’s Disorder. She has authored peer reviewed publications and presented posters and conducted workshops on multiple topics including Psychopharmacological treatment of ADHD, Tourette’s, Mood Disorders, and ASD.

Dr. Hasan is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

SMA Education Planning Committee:
Christopher Morris, MD
Steven Strode, MD

Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Southern Medical Association designates this Internet Activity Enduring Material for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAPA: AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. 

AANPCP: The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare Professionals

For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.  All healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs will receive a certificate of participation.

Available Credit

  • 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
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This activity is designed to be completed within the time designated; learners should claim only those credits that reflect the time actually spent in the activity. To successfully earn credit, participants must complete the activity online during the valid credit period noted, following these steps:

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