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Access to Autism Information and Services in Wisconsin is

Enhanced by LEND Collaboration with State System Initiative

Anne Bradford Harris, PhD, MPH, RD; Gail Chodron, PhD; Kris Barnekow, PhD, OTR/L; Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH; Lynn Hrabik, MPH

WI LEND Collaborations with 3 statewide initiatives

resulted in systems improvements

WI State System Grant

“Connection” 2008-2011
Access to Autism Information “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Ambassador (Gail Chodron 2011-2019) Access to Quality Services
Ongoing dissemination of information 2 state systems Initiatives (2012, 2014-2016), Act Early State Team (2007-2019) The Waisman Center Autism and Developmental Disabilities
from the “Connections” project Clinic has seen an average of over 1800 children per year for
WI Care Integration Initiative
• Community of Practice on Autism diagnostic services which includes confirmation or rule out of
state systems grant 2016-2019
Spectrum Disorders and other autism spectrum disorders. Clinicians have participated in
Developmental Disabilities Led by 2008 2011 2016 2019 developing state guidelines for best practices in autism
a Steering Team with 3 co-chairs diagnostic services, which includes an interdisciplinary
(supported by LEND and parents from evaluation using standardized tools and clinical
WI LEND Training – enhanced funding from national autism initiatives (2009-present) observation. Clinicians, researchers and LEND
WI autism societies), the Community of
Practice on ASD/DD provides three training trainees have participated in annual ADOS
events per year open to professionals (clinicians, (Autism Diagnostic Evaluation Schedule)
WI State Systems Grant “Connections” – lead was WI Department of Health Services, clinical training events and a small group
researchers, educators) and families/individuals with ASD/DD.
Attendance ranges from 60 to 600 people for each event
MCH Title V CYSHCN program. Waisman Center LEND faculty were subcontracted to has also become research reliable.
with larger numbers for the distance event scheduled each participate as project coordinator, provide outreach and referral, and conduct
year in mid-winter. project evaluation. A model Autism Treatment Services program was started in
the last five years to pilot and document new and evidence-
• “Finding Your Way – a Navigation “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” – CDC sponsored activities to increase awareness of based strategies for intensive parent-coaching and non-
Guide for families …” developed in intensive consultation services for children with ASD in early
early childhood developmental milestones and early signs of developmental
2011 and revised in 2017 continues childhood, schoolage and emerging adults.
differences. LEND Training Director was the Act Early Ambassador for 8 years, LEND
to be distributed in English and staff assisted in education, adapting and disseminating WI-branded materials, and
Spanish through the CYSHCN network Over a decade of research has been conducted by Leann
of regional centers and other
contributed to the development of the Act Early State Plan, serving on the Act Early Smith, LEND Research Director, with LEND trainees participating
programs. State Team. in the development, implementation and
adaptation of the “Transitioning Together”
LEND faculty and trainees at UW-Milwaukee (“Milwaukee-LINK”) WI Care Integration Initiative – lead was Waisman Center LEND faculty, contracted psychoeducational curriculum for youth
partner with community members to provide an educational with three “Engaged Community Quality Improvement Projects” covering multiple WI with ASD and their parents. Versions of this
event annually called the “Urban Autism Summit” designed to program have been piloted in schools
counties to pilot family navigation, access to shared resources and exploration of
educate families from diverse communities about autism and for latinx communities.
telehealth as methods to improve access to services for children at risk for, and
services and supports. This family-oriented event is held on a diagnosed with, autism spectrum disorders.
Saturday in June with workshops and sessions for all ages of Through the implementation of quality improvement projects
family members, including siblings and children. in selected communities in 1 urban and 2 rural sites (reaching
a total of 11 counties in WI), the The Wisconsin Care
The Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative WI LEND 10-year Results Integration Initiative has learned about challenges
families face in accessing screening,
Is producing several “brief” publications to
disseminate information on key strategies diagnostic and treatment services
such as family navigation and telehealth. medically underserved communities.
 372 Long-term LEND trainees graduated A child and family pathway helps to
 an average of 5 continuing education events with 600 participants total illustrate systems that families follow to
per year obtain services. Two statewide surveys
of families and individuals living with
autism have been conducted and
The WI Act Early State Team Community Outreach LEND trainees are assisting in data
which has continued to meet for
 an average of 18 community education events with 1200 participants total analysis and dissemination of survey
over 10 years supported by a series
per year results.
of small grants, and most recently
the WI Care Integration Initiative,
Research Acknowledgements: Funding for these activities has been
developed an Act Early State Plan
provided by a series of grants through HRSA agencies resulting
which provides a guide for other  an average of 26 LEND faculty and trainees participate in autism related directly from the federal Combating Autism Act of 2006, and
state initiatives and programs to research annually then through the Autism Collaboration, Accountability,
work together towards a common
Research, Education and Supports (CARES) Act.