The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is committed to helping children and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and other related disorders, through projects within the DPH Autism Initiative. The goal of the Autism Initiative is to improve Georgia’s capacity for early identification, screening, diagnosis, early intervention, and family support for children suspected of having, or diagnosed with, ASD. To achieve this goal, the DPH is partnering with state, public, private, and community organizations as well as universities to provide education, training, and support to providers, families, and advocates.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 64 children in Georgia. ASD is defined as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. The term “spectrum” refers to a wide range of signs, symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. Individuals with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from others without ASD. According to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in Georgia children are diagnosed at 3 years and 9 months on average, although children can be diagnosed as early as 2 years old. An early diagnosis helps to ensure children receive timely and appropriate care. It is important for all children to be screened for developmental delays, especially those children who are at a higher risk for developmental problems due to pre-term birth, low birth weight, or having a brother or sister with ASD.
Autism Initiative Projects
Early Intervention Training– Autism Navigator® Marcus Autism Center
Goal: Provide training to Part C Early Intervention Providers (Babies Can’t Wait Providers) on
collaborating and supporting families;
evidence-based intervention strategies and supports;
prioritizing intervention outcomes.
Positive Behavior and Visual Supports (PBVS) Georgia State University Center for Leadership in Disability
Goal: Provide PBVS training to families of children with a diagnosis of autism or combined delays of social emotional and communication identified through the Part C Program (Babies Can’t Wait).
Georgia Autism Assessment Collaborative (GAAC) Emory Autism Center
Goal: Build capacity of licensed psychologists and other professionals to provide quality diagnostic assessments with a focus on young children suspected of having ASD.