December 22, 2016

As we near the end of 2016, I want to acknowledge the ongoing accomplishments of the Autism CARES grantees. Your dedication to supporting children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities (DD) and their families is making an impact. Collectively, you are improving access to screening and diagnostic services for children with ASD, training the pipeline of future leaders in neurodevelopmental disabilities, advancing the evidence base around the effectiveness of autism interventions, reducing barriers to care for underserved populations, and pursuing new, innovative models of care and training to extend your reach.

Recently we shared findings from the latest Autism CARES evaluation from 2011-2014. While there are many achievements and innovations from across the grant programs, I wanted to highlight a few of the impressive results with you:

  • LEND and DBP programs expanded the pipeline of future leaders in neurodevelopmental disabilities and developmental behavioral pediatrics by training over 4,000 long-term trainees and more than 10,000 medium term trainees, and reaching over 210,000 individuals through continuing education on topics such as using valid, reliable screening and diagnostic tools, and evidence-based interventions for ASD/DD tools;
  • LEND and DBP programs continued to increase the number of children receiving diagnostic evaluations in each year of the evaluation, providing over 81,000 diagnostic evaluations in 2013-2014; 
  • The Autism CARES Research Program grantees developed 42 toolkits and measures, and 6 clinical guidelines, and prepared over 200 manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals;
  • State implementation grantees demonstrated improvements in both early and continuous screening, and increasing community capacity for timely identification and evaluation of children with ASD/DDs; and 
  • The national resource centers, ITAC and SPHARC, continued to provide solid support and technical assistance to all grantees, including promoting collaboration and coordination, and facilitating the exchange of resources and best practices across grantees.

I'd also like to welcome the new Autism CARES grantees from across the autism grant programs. We look forward to working with you and engaging you in the CARES network!

On behalf of the MCHB Division of MCH Workforce Development, I wish you a happy holiday season and best wishes for the new year. Thank you for all that you do children, youth and their families.

Lauren Raskin Ramos, MPH
Director, Division of MCH Workforce Development
Maternal and Child Health Bureau Autism Team Lead