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.