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Partner Spotlight

Norah Louise Johnson

About Norah: Norah Louise Johnson is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Education Services at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW). Norah, the mother of a 13-year-old son with autism, is also a PhD candidate, an adjunct nursing instructor at Marquette University, and a member of the Autism Society of South Eastern Wisconsin (ASSEW).

Norah’s PTCP Project: In April, Autism Awareness Month 2008, Norah partnered with ASSEW to host a CHW Nursing Grand Rounds entitled The Science of Autism: Defining, Describing, and Demystifying Autism. The goal of the roundtable was to raise awareness of autism among staff members. The talk, featuring an autism expert, was videotaped and made available on the hospital’s intranet for 1,200 nurses to watch. With the help of several CHW staff members, Norah also developed a workshop for direct care personnel to improve care for children living with autism. The workshop combined an online interactive module and instructor-lead class that included role-playing and discussion. In addition, Norah worked with the hospital’s security staff to develop protocols to better support patients with developmental disabilities.

Results and Next Steps: Participants in the program Norah coordinated commented on how they had a better understanding of “the large variety of ways autism expresses itself”; and an increased “awareness of autism, care for children, and understanding of how to effectively work with them.”

“I anticipate the growth of this program nationwide as an effective training method for staff to learn how to interact effectively with children and adults on the autism spectrum,” says Norah.

For more information on how you can reach out to health professionals in your area, visit the How to Get Involved page of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” website.

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