234689 Act early initiative: A public health approach to early identification of young children with autism and other developmental disabilities

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Cheryl Rhodes, MS, LMFT , National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Georgina Peacock, MD, MPH , National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC, Atlanta, GA
David Rotholz, PhD, BCBA , Director, Center for Disability Resources (UCEDD), University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC
Adriane K. Griffen, MPH, CHES , Project Director, CDC Cooperative Agreement, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Silver Spring, MD
Hypothesis: Multi-sector collaboration successfully increases state-level and community capacity to address the needs of young children at risk for ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Background: Autism screening and diagnosis is reliable as early as 18 months, yet many children, especially African American and Latino, are not diagnosed until age 5 or later, missing the opportunity for early intervention. “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Campaign objectives are accomplished through health communication, targeted research, and Act Early Initiative activities.

Methods: Eleven Act Early summits, convened by CDC, HRSA/MCH, and AUCD, were conducted between 2008-2010, bringing together 55 teams and over 800 leaders from public health, advocacy, early intervention, education, medical, and other state-level systems to develop plans to address systems gaps in identifying and serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Results: Act Early state team planning, activities, products, and outcomes will be described through review of quantitative and qualitative data from multiple sources (team leader survey, key informant interviews, grantee reports, state plans, state team performance indicators and work of AMCHP Act Early State System grantees). Preliminary evaluation and analysis of state team performance indicators show an increase in activities that improve early identification of autism and related developmental disabilities and improved collaboration among systems involved in early identification.

Conclusions: The Act Early Initiative model appears to be a promising practice that can be applied to other MCH programs.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the role of collaboration in mobilizing community action among child health systems 2. List “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” collaboration strategies that promote screening and early identification of autism and other developmental disabilities 3. Discuss design of performance indicators for project evaluation using the Act Early rubric 4. Identify key factors that produce effective collaboration among multi-sector stakeholders

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Children With Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work on evaluation and development of "Learn The Signs. Act Early." Act Early Initiative activities such as the Act Early Ambassador Project and Act Early Rubric.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Autism
See more of: Maternal and Child Health