Results of the Combating Autism Act Initiative: HRSA’s Efforts to Improve ASD Service Delivery Through DBP Training Program Grants
Under the authority of the 2006 Combating Autism Act (CAA), the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) introduced the Combating Autism Act Initiative (CAAI) in September 2008. As part of the CAAI, MCHB provided supplemental grants to six existing grantees within the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Training Program to focus on autism and related developmental disability education, early detection, and intervention. This report presents the results of a 3-year study to assess the DBP programs’ performance in meeting the goals and objectives of the CAAI.
The goal of the CAAI is to enable all children to reach their full potential by developing a system of services that includes a) screening children early for possible autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders (DD); b) conducting early, interdisciplinary evaluations to confirm or rule out ASD and other DD; and c) if a diagnosis is confirmed, providing evidence-based, early interventions. In support of these goals, the objectives of the DBP programs were to:
- Increase awareness of ASD
- Reduce barriers to screening and diagnosis and improve systems of care
- Translate ASD-related research into practice
- Train professionals to use valid and reliable screening and diagnostic tools
- Train professionals to provide advocacy, counseling, and coordination of care
This study collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative grantee data to assess the grantees’ short-term and intermediate progress in meeting these objectives as well as setting the foundation for measuring the grantees’ progress toward the CAAI long-term goals of early screening, diagnosis, and intervention.