Massachusetts Act Early State Team Autism Summit

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Location: EK Shriver Center, 200 Trapelo Road Waltham, MA

A working meeting to improve screening, identification and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders in MA

The summit will include up to 40 invited participants including early intervention personnel, educators, family members, clinicians and health care providers, researchers, and state agency personnel.  

About the National Act Early Summit Project

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), in collaboration with the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and a number of national efforts has launched a national public awareness campaign called "Learn the Signs. Act Early."  The campaign aims to educate parents and practitioners about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders, and encourages developmental screening and intervention.  

About the Massachusetts Act Early State Team Summit

The Massachusetts Act Early state plan is designed to strengthen state and community systems for the early identification and intervention for children with signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD).  The Act Early Team envisions a future that uses a family-centered model that overcomes geographic, socio-economic, cultural, and linguistic barriers to assure equal access and adequate funding for all children in the Commonwealth to:

§  Universal screening for ASDs and DDs

§  Timely and accurate diagnosis of ASDs and other DDs

§  Ongoing care coordination in a medical home through the lifespan

§  Individualized treatment based on best available evidence and best practices

§  Support for transition to adulthood and ongoing adult services

§  Comprehensive supports for all family members of individuals with ASD

The short-term goals and immediate work of the MA Act Early state team in 2010-2011 will be:

  1. Develop an outreach plan to increase public awareness by disseminating free CDC Act Early materials in settings such as childcare, education, early intervention, medical offices, community centers, etc. 
  2. Explore CME possibilities to increase the amount of ASD training opportunities for MA physicians and medical residents
  3. Shorten time between screening, diagnosis and intervention through partnerships between Early Intervention, local education agencies, diagnosing physicians and others.

 The MA Act Early State Team Autism Summit will bring together a variety of key stakeholders to collaborate on designated work groups toward the state's short-term goals in this first of two summit meetings for 2010 & 2011.


Peter Doehring, Ph.D. was trained as a clinical-research psychologist in Canada, and served as Statewide Director of the Delaware Autism Program from 1999-2008. As Director of Regional Programs at the Center for Autism Research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), he now leads a variety of programs for training and intervention related to the ASDs and intended to increase the reliance on research-based practices across community-based settings. These include: the state-funded ASERT (Autism Services, Education, Research, and Training) consortium for Eastern Pennsylvania based at CHOP; ASD related activities within CHOP's federally funded LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders) program, and an NIH-funded regional research registry designed to match families from the mid-Atlantic region with ASD scientists seeking participants in research studies.  Dr. Doehring's presentation will inspire summit attendees to "think BIG about ASDs," by developing systems of care to improve early identification and support.

For more information about Dr. Doehring, Click Here 

Notes about the Summit
Attendance for the Summit will be limited to 40 respondents.  We request that only one person attend from each organization to allow for a wide representation of organizations and interests. If you cannot make it to this Summit, but wish to send a designee in your place, please let us know.

Attendees will have the opportunity to join one of three workgroups during the break-out sessions designated to address a short-term goal listed above. 

The preliminary schedule for the day's events is:

9:00           Arrival

9:15           Welcome & introduction by MA Act Early team

9:30           Keynote address by Peter Doehring, PhD

10:15         Break

10:30         Presentation of MA Act Early long & short term goals

12:00         Lunch & SharePoint presentation

1:00           Breakout Sessions

3:00           Action Planning

4:00           Adjourn

 Lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments will be served.

The MA Act Early State Team Autism Summit will take place on Wednesday, November 10th from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.   

The deadline for your RSVP by registering is Friday, October 29th.  We will need to hear from you by then to secure your spot, before issuing new invitations to fill open seats.  Thanks in advance for your speedy reply!

After registering, you will receive a confirming email.  One week before the Summit, you will receive the electronic versions of the daylong summit agenda, copies of working group briefing papers, and directions to the University of Massachusetts Medical School/Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham, MA. 

For more information, please contact Elaine Gabovitch, MA Act Early state coordinator, UMass Medical School/E.K. Shriver Center in Waltham, MA.