MUSC hosted a two-day Act
Early program June 17 that was attended by 18 South Carolina
pediatricians, family physicians and health care providers.
Zachary Warren, Ph.D.,
director of Vanderbilt University's Treatment and Research Institute
for Autism Spectrum Disorders, led the training in autism and autism
screening as part of the Act Early program. The National Center for
Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Learn the Signs/Act Early
campaign in 2004 to educate parents, health care professionals and
child care providers about the importance of early identification and
intervention for children with signs of autism spectrum disorders.
at the Act Early training at Ashley River Tower.
The CDC Autism and
Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Program (ADDM) estimates that 1
in 110 children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Jane Charles,
M.D., developmental pediatrician and principal investigator of the S.C.
ADDM program, was invited to a CDC-sponsored Act Early Summit in 2009
for autism leaders from the state. These key stakeholders created a
logic model to develop family-centered coordinated services for
children with ASD and their families.
It was recognized that
early and accurate diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders currently
represents a pressing clinical practice issue for pediatric primary
care providers. A major goal of the logic model was to increase early
and accurate diagnosis of ASD in the state.
Charles obtained funding
from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau for master clinical training
and in June organized the first program to meet this primary goal of
the S.C. logic model, a two-day training in autism plus the
administration and scoring of the screening tool for autism in toddlers
and young children.
Charles said she hopes
that this model program will enhance ASD diagnostic consultation and
identification practices designed within community health care practice
settings resulting in earlier diagnosis and intervention for children
in South Carolina.