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Combating Autism: Grant Programs

State Demonstrations and Policy: Health Research, Inc./New York State Department of Health

Abstract FY 2009

In New York State (NYS), approximately 32,682 of children and youth with special health care needs 0-17 years of age are estimated to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (NYSOMRDD) delivers services to 17,000 individuals with autism and ASD. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) reported that on December 1, 2006, there were more than 15,000 students in the special education system with autism. The number of children enrolled in the NYS Early Intervention Program (NYSEIP) reported with a diagnosis of ASD has increased significantly, more than doubling in the most recent five years from 1,228 children in 2001-02 to 3,541 in 2006-07. NYS has recently announced its Autism Platform to improve the statewide service delivery system for individuals with ASD and their families, a comprehensive interagency plan under the leadership of OMRDD. Early identification and treatment, which is a cornerstone of the Autism Platform, can lead to lifelong improvements in health, development, and function for children and youth with ASD, especially when these early services are followed by effective transition to coordinated health, mental health, educational, and community supports.

The goal of the NYS Partners for Healthy Futures for Children and Youth with ASD (Partners for Healthy Futures) is to ensure that NYS implements and sustains a system of family-centered care that provides for the early identification and treatment of children and youth with ASD and other developmental disabilities, resulting in life-long improvements in health, development and functioning for these children and youth and their families. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), as lead agency for the IDEA Part C Early Intervention Program and Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program, and coalition partners will build upon the NYSOMRDD Autism Platform to implement a multifaceted plan to:

  • Increase the proportion of pediatricians and other primary care providers that perform screening for ASD among all children at 18 and 24 months;
  • Update and disseminate the revised NYSDOH Clinical Practice Guideline on Assessment and Intervention for Young Children with Autism;
  • Train health care and special education professionals on the use of best practice Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other behavioral interventions;
  • Implement a quality improvement review tool to monitor the quality of ABA provided to children with ASD and their families statewide;
  • Implement a Web-based family support initiative for parents of children with ASD to help improve their knowledge, satisfaction, access to care, and the quality of their child’s transition between various components of the system.

The proposed project will be facilitated by the NYSDOH EIP/CSHCN through a collaborative task force of stakeholders including the federal Health Resources Services Administration. Process and outcome measures will be used to measure the impact of the project, monitor the project activities, and provide for extended sustainability.