Enhancing early identification and coordination of intervention services for young children with autism spectrum disorders: Report from the Act Early Regional Summit Project

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.
Disability and Health Journal (Impact Factor: 1.29). 01/2012; 5(1):55-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2011.10.001
Source: PubMed


Increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the merits of early intervention support the importance of early identification and detection. The Act Early Initiative attempts to address the states' capacity to support this process of early identification and early intervention.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) collaborated with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) to develop strategies that will address state capacity for responding to the increasing demand for earlier identification, earlier diagnoses, and coordination of service systems for children with ASDs and other developmental disabilities (DD).
Act Early regional summits were held to engage stakeholders from the early detection and intervention community including parents, state agencies, provider groups, autism and related disability organizations, and academia. The stakeholders then used the Logic Model to facilitate the teams' planning process. The Logic Model enables teams to understand the strengths and gaps within their state resources and plan specific activities to achieve concrete outcomes.
States identified opportunities and challenges in early identification of children with delay. One of the particular challenges identified were low income, rural and non-English speaking populations encountering more challenges than others in accessing diagnosis and early intervention services.
The Summits are a unique model that demonstrates the importance of developing comprehensive state plans to advance the collaboration and coordination of early detection and intervention service systems for children with ASDs and related DDs from all racial, ethnic, geographical, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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    • "In some children with ASDs there is an early onset of regulatory problems (Barnevik-Olsson et al, unpublished data, 2013), such as with sleeping,60 crying,61 and feeding.62 The importance of identifying autism at an early age has been stressed in many studies.63,64 The early identification of ASDs allows for early onset of adapted behavioral and educational measures and information to parents and preschool staff about the child’s underlying cognitive problems. "
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