Implementing a Statewide Autism Plan for Georgia

Collaboration of the Parent Partners in Medical Clinics

December 18, 2014

The Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University was awarded a two-year grant from MCHB in September 2014 to implement the Autism Plan for Georgia (APG). We have worked diligently over the last several months with our Autism Advisory Council and other key stakeholders to implement targeted activities in ten areas that were designed during the 2011-2013 plan development phase.

GA State Autism Implementation plan graphic

These ten areas include:
• Early Identification & Screening
• Referral & Diagnosis
• Health, Behavioral Health, & Dental Services
• Family Support
• Early Intervention & Preschool Services
• Elementary & Secondary Education
• Community Services & Supports
• Transition from Youth to Adult Systems
• Adult Services & Supports
• Emergency Preparedness & First Responders

One activity that we expect to cut across many of the areas of the APG will be the Parent Partner Project. The Parent Partners serve as an office-based resource working toward the goal of providing "family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally competent" support to families of children with special health care needs. Parent Partners connect families to the resources and information they need, and are able to spend time the that is often difficult to provide in a primary care setting.

Georgia's Parent Partner program is a state/community agency collaboration being supported largely through funding from the Georgia Department of Public Health to Parent to Parent of Georgia. Modeled on demonstration projects in New Jersey and Rhode Island, parent partners will operate in four locations across the state. The APG implementation grant is providing partial funding for one Parent Partner to work with Dr. Leslie Rubin, developmental pediatrician, in his clinic in Children's Health Care of Atlanta at Hugh Spalding. Brenda Liz Munoz Williamson, who is a family trainee in the Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) program and an Autism Advisory Council member, will serve in this role. The APG implementation grant will also support the evaluation of the impact this pilot project.

We look forward to continued collaboration with our Autism Advisory Council in accomplishing the goals of the APG to enhance access and coordination of services and support across the lifespan.