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MCDD Shares Expertise on Involuntary Psychiatric Admissions Process

Involuntary psychiatric admissions were the focus of a 3.5-hour presentation that Maureen van Stone, associate director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) and director of Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), and six other panelists gave to more than 50 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) at the Office of Administrative Hearings in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on Oct 14.

The Office of Administrative Hearings provides the public with a corps of ALJs to provide rulings on appeals of administrative agency decisions. ALJs may be called upon to make decisions in cases involving children and adults with disabilities. In her presentation, titled “Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Mental Health Conditions in the Involuntary Psychiatric Admissions Process,” van Stone shared facts about the frequent co-occurrence of psychiatric symptoms among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and barriers to appropriate treatment.

Other panelists included Trish Kane, director of programs at Pathfinders for Autism; Dr. Robert Wisner-Carlson, chief psychiatrist for the adult inpatient unit at Sheppard Pratt Health System; Carol MacKenzie, admissions director at Sheppard Pratt Health System; and attorney Linda Penn of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender.

“The presentation was very well-received by the ALJs and by the attorneys from the Office of the Public Defender, who also participated in the training,” van Stone said. “It is our hope that by providing this comprehensive training, the ALJs and public defenders will be more knowledgeable about the unique set of challenges adults with ASD and mental health conditions face while living and working in our communities,” she added.

MCDD and Pathfinders for Autism recently co-sponsored a community-based training at Abilities Network in Towson, Maryland. At the Nov. 10 event, a similar group of panelists provided a comprehensive overview of the issue, with a specific focus on reaching adults with disabilities, family members, caregivers, and service providers who need more knowledge and information about the involuntary admissions process. As determined by MCDD satisfaction surveys, the panel presentation was very well-received.


MCDD Newsletter 2017: Issue One