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Survey of State-level Strategies for Implementing CDCs Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Kamesha Anderson, BA; Wan-Yu Jenny Lin, MS, MEd; Stephanie Weber, PsyD; Karen Edwards, MD, MPH; David Schor, MD, MPH; Cheryl Rhodes, MS, LMFT; Georgina Peacock, MD, MPH; Jennifer Bogin, MSEd, BCBA
Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) Program The Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics , Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center University of Cincinnati University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Act Early Overview

The CDCs Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so that children and families may obtain needed services and supports as early as possible. Online resources have been developed for dissemination to promote understanding of the first signs of developmental delay in young children. The target audiences of this campaign includes parents, professionals and paraprofessionals who interact with young children. The goal of the current project was to inventory state strategies for implementing the Act Early Initiative. Methods for collecting information on state strategies included: an on-line survey, review of webbased resources, interviews of key state-level informants, and participation in webinars and in-person meetings with state and national leaders. The survey was distributed to Act Early Ambassadors, state Act Early team leads, and Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) grant awardees. Resulting information on state strategies is described here in three categories: Creating Awareness, Building Knowledge, and Changing Systems.

Examples of Strategies Used by States to Fulfill the Objectives of the Act Early Campaign
Creating Awareness
Customization of Materials
For Alaskas Act Early brochure, images of
children wearing summer outfits were changed to children wearing snowsuits and other cold weather clothing Idaho developed a physician resource packet (including a CD) Indiana produced a document called What to Do If You Suspect Your Child Has ASD

Building Knowledge
Residency Training
In California, the ACT Curriculum has been approved for the Resident Education Portal Delaware is providing ACT training to pediatric residents and conducting pre-and post-tests to measure the effectiveness of the training

Changing Systems
Early Recognition, Screening, and Evaluation
Utah, Oklahoma, and Alaska have offered community-based events where children are observed in play and then provided with screenings Hawaii, Tennessee, and Maine have been working to implement statewide, coordinated systems of developmental screening Childrens Home Society of New Jersey has developed a pictorial supplement to be used in conjunction with the M-CHAT, and have begun to use it in several underserved communities

Strategies Benefiting At-Risk or Underserved Populations

Floridas Project Connectar uses natural helpers or promotoras to assist Hispanic families in identifying developmental delays and accessing services for their children at an earlier age Hawaii and Illinois have been working to provide training to staff working within homeless shelters Alaska established a network of Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Outreach and Autism Screening Clinics and a traveling Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Clinic to provide community outreach to providers, education trainings for professionals, families, and consumers

Conferences, Meetings, and Community Locations

Hawaii provided the Act Early materials at
the annual Pac Rim International Conference Nebraska educated lawmakers on Act Early at legislative luncheons New Mexico presented Act Early materials at the conference of Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS)

Trainings for Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Providers

Iowa provides on-site orientation to agencies on campaign materials, the distribution process, and outcome reporting requirements

North Carolina piloted a tiered workshop on

developmental milestones, Autism Spectrum Disorder screening, diagnostic evaluations with an emphasis on early childhood development and education

Family Centered Approaches

Alabama, Kansas, Montana, and Ohio have worked to implement trainings that focus on communicating with parents about Act Early messages Montana has focused its Act Early trainings on relationships between families and professionals with the goal to empower families through positive and constructive strategies and planning for their children with developmental disabilities

Community Collaborations
The New Hampshire team has established collaboration with the Infant Mental Health Board Center for Professional Excellence in Child Welfare and with the Maternal Child Health Home Visiting Programs West Virginias Autism Training Center is collaborating with Autism Society of West Virginia to reach parents and educators across the state to extend the Act Early message

Trainings for Agency Staff

New York produced a webinar on the identification of early signs of autism to various agencies within the state

Internet and Other Media

Vermont did a special report on new Autism rates on local radio:

LEND Program Training

Training on the ACT Curriculum
is occurring in Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, South Dakota, & Wisconsin

Example of state-specific Act Early website in Kentucky:

For more information: