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Autism Diagnosis Education Project

The Autism Diagnosis Education Project (ADEP) was founded upon the idea that families needed access to a local, timely, standardized comprehensive evaluation when they suspected their child of having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a result of this need, ADEP launched in Ohio in 2008 with five community-based diagnostic partnerships, and would subsequently add 48 counties between 2010 and 2015. These community-based diagnostic partnerships would form unique teams between primary care practices and professionals providing early intervention and early childhood services, primarily through Ohio's Help Me Grow (HMG) and County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.

The underlying goals were, and still are, to decrease wait times for families, decrease the average age of diagnosis, and equip and support local pediatric providers in their understanding of ASD and their abilities to accurately diagnose, particularly in the birth-to-three population. Under the current leadership of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), Akron Children's Hospital (ACH), and the Family Child Learning Center (FCLC), ADEP continues to make the early diagnosis of ASD a priority for young children in Ohio. The project's work aligns with the Ohio Autism Recommendations, which emphasizes the importance of early identification and diagnosis of autism.

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Video Transcript:

Kim Osburn: I can’t imagine going all the way through his early childhood and middle childhood not knowing what’s going on.

Narrator:  When it comes to autism, data from the Centers for Disease Control suggests the average American family has a two-and-a-half year gap from first concern about their child to diagnosis.  Two-and-a-half-years.

Because of Ohio’s Autism Diagnosis Education Project, Kim and Tim Osburn didn’t have that wait.  Just four months after concern about Connor, the Osburn’s had a local autism diagnosis in Greene County, Ohio.
 
Kim Osburn: We would have missed out on that had it not been for the ADEP program.

The Autism Diagnosis Education Project trains local teams to evaluate children suspected of having autism, using the latest internationally renowned evidence-based tools and teaching methods.

John Martin: Having something local is absolutely critical.

Mary Ann Campbell: They appreciate that it’s here locally, that they don’t have to wait 3-6, in some cases a year or more, to get into a clinic, they can get an answer faster.

Jennifer Montague: If we didn’t have that answer, I would feel, I wouldn’t know where to go.  

John Duby: I think it’s a huge impact to be able to offer to a family a service they can rely on knowing that it’s well done, it’s comprehensive, it’s standardized across the state.

Jennifer Montague: We can provide parents with a faster response and we can get the children into the therapeutic programs that they need to be in.

Narrator: With more than 200 Ohio cases that show a significant decrease in wait time and increase in parental satisfaction.
 
John Martin: To me it is a great model, seems like it could be replicated in other places.

Tim Osburn: It’s a miracle…just from where he was to where he is.

Kim Osburn: More and more kids need this intervention, they need this diagnosis so parents have the tools they need to help their children.