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Combating Autism: Grant Program

State Demonstrations and Policy: The Curators of the University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri 

Project Description:

The overall goal of this project is "to improve access to comprehensive, coordinated health care and related services for Missouri children and youth with autism spectrum disorders (CY-ASD) and other developmental disabilities." Through this project, the state of Missouri will implement a statewide plan of integrated ASD services at the individual, community and state levels. This plan reflects the belief that these services must be family-centered, community-based and culturally competent. Existing needs assessments show that families of individuals with ASD have numerous difficulties partnering with professionals to obtain comprehensive and coordinated services across the lifespan. Because of the urgency of these concerns, Missouri launched a "Rapid Response" pilot project in 2007 to improve timely access to ASD screening, diagnosis, and evidence-based interventions and to enhance family supports for children 0-5 years. The state is poised to expand the Rapid Response project through targeted interventions that encourage full access to primary and specialty healthcare providers and to other professionals who deliver services for children, youth and families. Two of the six core components of an effective ASD service delivery system are the focus of this project, with an integrated scope of work that cuts across all six components.


Goal 1: To improve access to comprehensive and coordinated care through the Medical Home; Goal 2: To support successful adolescent transition to adulthood for youth with ASD; Goal 3: To ensure the sustainability of access to comprehensive and coordinated care. The scope of work reflects evidence-based and "best practice" models of care and will be integrated into the Title V Block Grant and other state ASD initiatives. This project also will benefit those with other developmental disabilities by strengthening family/professional partnerships and by building collaboration among Missouri's medical, educational and social service systems for those with developmental challenges.


Key stakeholders have formed a partnership to plan and implement this initiative. They include the Missouri Bureau of Special Healthcare Needs; Missouri Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities; Missouri Family Voices and Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment; the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and the University of Missouri Kansas City-Institute for Human Development. The University of Missouri Thompson Center submits this application on behalf of the partnership.


Outcomes include:

Individual Outcomes

Improve the capacity of families and professionals to respond to needs.

Community Outcomes

Identify resources and develop coordinated service systems

State/Systems Outcomes

Identify and implement systemic approaches to improve access


--Increased communication and planning between youth, families and professionals

--Increased access for children and youth to

  • Medical Homes
  • Screening & intervention services
  • Adequate financial supports

--Increased knowledge and awareness 

  • By families and service providers regarding ASD and Medical Homes
  • By families and service coordinators regarding financing for ASD services

--Increased successful healthcare and other transitions 

--Increased capacity of community stakeholders to develop integrated service systems on the community level

--Increased accessibility of beneficial community services

--Enhanced coordination of community supports that build child and family strengths








--Ongoing assessment of access to care through the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) national ASD registry

--Enhanced coordination with medical associations, training programs, advocates for improved healthcare financing and other programs for CYSHCN

--Increased level of participation of families of CY-ASD in the statewide programs and policies that impact them

--Project is sustained across Missouri