The average length of time between parents’ initial concern about their child and receiving a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be as long as two years in Ohio. In other states it is as high as four or more years. Several factors account for this delay:
- Physicians taking a "wait-and-see" attitude
- Parents waiting to take action
- Waiting lists at diagnostic centers
The purpose of ADEP’s community-based diagnostic partnerships is to increase early and timely access to a standardized, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation for children with concerns in language and social development, including ASD. Specifically,the goal is to offer a process and a structure that enables parents to obtain a timely diagnosis for their child so that the child can receive early intervention and obtain supports and services, as needed.
Valuable time is lost when a diagnosis is delayed; so the sooner a family receives a diagnosis, the sooner they can act on the newfound knowledge and help their child. For the period 2012 to 2015, the goals of the expanded project are to:
- Reduce the time from initial family concern to diagnosis from 18 months to less than 9 months.
- Reduce the time from initial contact with Ohio’s Help Me Grow assessment system to diagnosis to within 90 days.
- Lower the age of diagnosis from 36 months to 30 months old.