September 3, 2012

Autism research welcomes patients, parents' input

SHARON GEKOSKI-KIMMEL / Staff Photographer
Jonathan Kratchman, 16, is happy to be part of autism research.
Children's Hospital trials get $668,000 grant.

By Paul Jablow
For The Inquirer

Jonathan Kratchman, a 16-year-old with autism from Cherry Hill, likes participating in medical research studies.

"They explain everything to him," says his mother, Amy Kratchman. "For once he feels that someone is listening to him. He's always asking, 'Mom, when's the next study?' "

Over the next few years, both mother and son will be spending even more time on the front lines of autism research. Amy Kratchman is part of a research team at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that recently received a $668,000 federal grant to help doctors understand the treatment outcomes that children and parents really want.

Clinical trials are critical because they test new treatments and help improve care. And while it may seem obvious to take the views of parents and children into account, that hasn't been the case.

Patients and health professionals often "speak a very different language," says Katherine Bevans, lead researcher on the project.


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