By Janine M. Collins, MTS, MSW

Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege to sit down via conference call for a conversation with Dr. Robert Fletcher of NADD (pronounced nad and formerly known as the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed). Dr. Fletcher graciously spent an hour providing an overview of NADD, answering questions and offering insights into mental health issues including trauma as faced by those with I/DD, in general and autism, in particular.

Dr. Fletcher is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NADD. His vision and leadership have brought NADD to a position where it is recognized as the world’s leading organization in providing educational resources, conferences, trainings, consultation services, as well as accreditation and certification programs in the field of dual diagnosis.

For the last forty years, Dr. Fletcher has dedicated his professional career to improving the lives of individuals who have a dual diagnosis (ID/MI). He has been involved as a clinician, program developer, policy maker, researcher and consultant. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and has written or edited 10 books addressing mental health aspects in persons with I/DD, including as Chief Editor of the Diagnostic Manual – Intellectual Disabilities (DM-ID).

He has worked as a consultant worked in eight states, developing Dual Diagnosis Task Force’s as a way to improve the lives of individuals who have IDD/MI. In recent years, Dr. Fletcher has spearheaded the NADD Accreditation and Certification Programs in an effort to raise the bar for provision of services to individuals with IDD/MI.

Questions addressed during the interview included, “What do you see as the primary mental health issues facing those with ASD?”, “To what extent are trauma/traumatic experiences playing a role in these mental health issues?”, “How can support services staff be better trained to recognize signs of trauma and support those with PTSD?”, and more. A full recording of my conversation with Dr. Fletcher is available on YouTube.*

Additional resources and links to other relevant organizations also are available from NADD.

Editor’s Note: Regrettably, a transcript of the interview is not available at this time. An unexpected technical issue during the captioning process prevented such transcription. If possible, a transcript will be made available at a later date.