Many developmental delays can be identified in the first year of life. But when doctors and parents don’t monitor their child’s development, problems can arise. According to focus group data compiled through the Autism Diagnosis Education Pilot Project (ADEPP), the average wait from moment of first concern to diagnosis of autism for focus group participants was two years, four months. While many of these delays can be found in the first year of life, the average age of diagnosis is 7 years old.
The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (OAAP) developed the Concerned About Development Learning Collaborative to help address these issues with the goal of engaging families, child care providers, educators, health care professionals, and leaders in their communities in identifying opportunities to promote early identification and addressing of developmental delays through a five-step program that includes the following strategies:
- Engage primary care health professionals in continuing education that will lead to implementation of enhanced developmental surveillance, and use of standardized developmental screening tools following American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
- Identify, educate, and support community-based primary care practices who will partner with early intervention and early childhood education assessment teams in their communities to offer a standardized, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation for children with concerns in language and social development.
- Develop stand alone educational opportunities specifically for residents in pediatrics and family medicine, but made available to other health professionals as a member benefit.
- Work with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Bureau of Child Care, Healthy Child Care Ohio, the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association, and local providers to identify and develop opportunities for collaboration to promote Step Up to Quality, including implementation of developmental screening in child care settings, while enhancing communication between child care providers and health professionals. In addition, identify strategies to enhance communication regarding developmental screening and concerns between Head Start and other preschool providers, and health professionals.
- Develop and disseminate a public awareness campaign to promote the importance of addressing developmental concerns early and the value of early and repeated developmental screening.
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