Increasing Early Childhood Screening & Timely Interventions

Research shows that early screening and timely intervention can improve a child’s overall development and future outcomes. We’re committed to global public health initiatives to address early screening, and collaborate with leaders in the field to ensure sustainable and effective autism service delivery. We provide community screening and intervention resources and funding for best practice, cost-effective screening and intervention care models. And, collaborative public service campaigns encouraging early intervention have helped close the diagnosis gap between Black and white children.

We have seen substantial progress in this area over the last 15 years, but we know there is more work to be done to ensure all children have access to screening and early support that will help them thrive later in life.

 

Most recently, we’re proud to share these achievements from the last fiscal year. 

  • In partnership with the Ad Council, Autism Speaks launched a new bilingual public service campaign to lower the age of diagnosis with an emphasis on underserved populations.  
  • Successfully promoted addition of autism insurance coverage in Wyoming and Tennessee, resulting in nationwide state coverage.  
    • Further advancement in coverage was made by the removal of caps in insurance coverage in New Mexico, Utah and Virginia state-regulated insurance plans as well as expanded coverage to the small group and individual markets in Virginia  
    • These advocacy efforts led to added meaningful autism insurance coverage for an additional 1.3 million people in 2020, bringing the cumulative total covered nationwide to 204 million people – an estimated 64 percent of the U.S. population 
  • Helped pass the ACE Kids Act which gives states new options to provide coordinated care through a Health Home for Children with Medically Complex Conditions enrolled in Medicaid. 
  • Supported training of more than 400 community-based medical providers in early screening and best practices in autism care through ECHO Autism Primary Care, a program to reduce delays in diagnosis and patient care, with participants reporting better screening and self-efficacy ratings. 
  • Worked with state Medicaid agencies and stakeholders to implement coverage for the treatment of autism.  
    • Coverage included evidence-based therapeutic and behavioral services in Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and New Jersey to meet Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment mandate 
  • Established the reliability and validity of a video-based screening tool for infants at risk of autism when used as early as 12 months of age. 
  • Funded a randomized controlled trial of Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) sites to monitor other autism centers and provide teleconference-based education interventions with nearly 150 primary care physicians.  
    • Results showed significant increases in autism screening, general developmental screening, PCP autism knowledge, PCP self-efficacy and significant decreases in number of perceived barriers to caring for children 

Spectrum Spotlight - Meet the Mullen Family
Callan and Brennan M. | 3 years old
Although receiving the news that their boys were on the spectrum was difficult to fully accept at first, the couple quickly took action to get their boys access to the services and supports they needed.
Read Callan and Brennan M. 's Story
Spectrum Spotlight: Meet Alivia and Sophia
Alivia, 13, and Sophia, 7
As parents we learned to celebrate the little achievements that others might overlook. We actively engage our daughters in programs and community events that are tailored for all abilities.
Read Alivia, 13, and Sophia, 7's Story
Azeem K. Autism Speaks Spectrum Spotlights
Azeem K. | 7 years old
He still struggles with expressing himself with words, but Azeem’s big personality will never cease to shine.
Read Azeem K.'s Story
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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.