UW LEND: Innovative Systems Change for ASD Initiatives

December 18, 2014

UW LEND Training Program - University of Washington, Seattle, Washington  http://depts.washington.edu/lend

In 2008, Washington State DOH/CSHCN and UW LEND received one of the first rounds of grants under the Combating Autism Act 2006 and formed the Combating Autism Advisory Council (CAAC) to guide effective systems change for ASD/DD initiatives in Washington State.  The Council is in its sixth year and has been renamed the Washington Autism Advisory Council (WAAC).   The UW LEND provides leadership and support in partnership with Washington State Title V and WA State Developmental Disabilities Council.  Council membership is comprised of individuals and advocates from state and local agencies; diagnostic centers including the UW LEND's Child Development Clinic; UW LEND faculty and fellows; family members, self-advocates and other interested individuals.  The WAAC enhances the visibility of the UW LEND training program and attracts potential fellows from nontraditional sources. 

The following comment is from a former UW LEND Fellow who attended a meeting:  "I attended this meeting not really knowing what to expect, nor who would be there. I was stunned by who was in attendance. Many heads of state departments (HCA, DDA, etc.) were there, as well as directors of clinics (SCH Autism Center, UW Adult Autism Center, UW LEND, etc.). Also many folks from resource agencies across the state were present. It seemed to me that the meeting was more like a State of the Union on what is currently happening on the autism front in Washington State. I appreciated seeing how many of the different parties were providing updates on legislation, Medicaid, insurance, etc in an effort to provide the most current information to those in positions that can make a difference in the delivery of care to those with ASD."

THE UW LEND faculty in partnership with WA State Title V currently collaborates with rural and under-served communities to increase community capacity and coordinated systems to screening, diagnostic, and intervention programs for children with ASDs and their families.  The project is referred to as the Community Asset Mapping (CAM) Project.  To date, nine CAM Communities across Washington State have improved early identification and diagnosis of children with ASD and other developmental concerns.  UW LEND Fellows participate in CAM activities and have the opportunity to visit rural and underserved areas in Washington State. 

UW LEND faculty were instrumental in helping to develop and support the Washington State Medicaid services for children with ASD program operated by the newly formed Health Care Authority (HCA).  Because so few providers assess and treat children with public insurance, the Child Development Clinic supported by the UW LEND was designated as a Center of Excellence (COE) in the diagnostic assessment of ASD, ensuring improved access, assessment, and accuracy of autism specific diagnostic services for the entire state.  Medicaid offers coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for children who have a confirmed diagnosis of autism and treatment plans. ABA coverage was recently extended to children with developmental disabilities.   UW LEND clinicians and fellows routinely perform interdisciplinary team evaluations; have experience in confirming autism diagnoses and make treatment plans for all children including children covered by Medicaid. 

UW LEND faculty collaborated with Seattle Children's Autism Center to create a new ARNP fellowship utilizing UW LEND curriculum and MCH leadership competencies as part of a year long clinical, didactic and community training toward diagnosing and treating children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.  Two UW LEND fellows completed the program last year and two additional fellows are completing the program this year.

Mental Health Parity in Washington State was pursed through the legal system which has afforded the UW LEND to offer Continuing Education to primary care providers in rural and underserved areas.  The Conference "Building a Medical Home for Children with ASD and Their Families" scheduled for October 2015 will offer a one day CME conference and corresponding online training modules addressing complementary and alternative medicine, transition, advocacy and appeals.