Families FORWARD

Project Overview 

Families FORWARD is a community-based program that focuses on developing individualized transition planning for families of youth on the autism spectrum. The program is being developed in two phases. In Phase 1, input is gathered from service providers and families representing a range of cultural backgrounds and autism-related experiences. In Phase 2, a proof-of-concept trial will be conducted to test the effectiveness of the program in improving transition planning and decreasing service use disparities across the transition to adulthood for youth on the autism spectrum and their families. The ultimate goal of this program is to improve outcomes for youth on the autism spectrum and their families during this critical developmental period.

Roles and Responsibilities 

As a Postdoctoral Associate on the project, I lead all aspects of research under the direction of Drs. Kristin Long and Gael Orsmond. My responsibilities include:


Meyer, R., Guan, S., Suswaram, S., Eilenberg, J. S., Wilson, J., Feng, W., Chu, A., & Long, K.A. (2023, August). The influence of culture on stigma and self-blame experienced by parents of youth with autism. American Psychological Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. [In-person]

Eilenberg, J.S., Suswaram, S., Gordillo, M., Gabovitch, E., Martin, K., & Long, K.A (2023, May). Community-based research approaches to meaningfully engage racially and ethnically diverse first-person autistic perspectives in qualitative research. International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting, Stockholm, Älvsjö, Sweden. [In-person]

Invited Presentations

Suswaram, S. (2023, March). Expanding our Research Horizon to Include Autistic Adolescents and Adults. Invited Conference Lecture. Annual Conference at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for Hearing Healthcare Professionals, Philadelphia, PA. [In-person]

Suswaram, S. (2023, March). A Socio-Cultural Perspective on Communication Development in Minimally Verbal/Nonspeaking Autistic Individuals. Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE), Boston University, Boston, MA. [In-person]