Updates from the State Public Health Autism Resource Center

April 21, 2020

New State Grantee Community of Learners Kicks-Off!

SPHARC, in partnership with HRSA, is continuing to support the newly awarded Autism Community of Learners 2019-2022 state grantee cohort. Grantees include:

  • Iowa
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Grant activities for the project period will focus on implementation three key evidence-based/informed strategies: Shared Resource, Family Navigation and Provider Integration and Education. The community currently has access to their new team SharePoint site to facilitate resource sharing and peer learning. They are also participating in frequent Affinity Group meetings focused on three key needs of the community: Family Navigation; Setting up a Learning Community; and Evaluation/Outcome Assessment. These needs were identified by the grantees at the October kick-off meeting and focus on peer-to-peer discussion and troubleshooting and occasional subject matter experts.

To learn more about each grantee's work, check out their state profiles on the SPHARC webpage.


Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Acceptance Month! During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people. We invite you to visit the official Autism Acceptance Month website (https://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/) hosted by our partners at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). This website serves as a central location for posting and sharing information about autism acceptance-themed events occurring across the United States for the entire month.

The State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC), in partnership with College Steps, is excited to announce that it will be hosting a virtual screening of the new documentary, Autism Goes to College, for Autism Acceptance Month! The documentary features the story of five students on the spectrum who take us on campus and into their lives, offering an eye-opening look at what a growing number of neurodiverse young adults are bringing to their communities.

WHERE? Information for joining the virtual screening & discussion will be sent upon registration.
Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0BecJEqRRXCcOd99iOVucw

ALL are invited! Title V MCH & CYSHCN leaders, autistic individuals and their families, students and peer mentors, public health professionals, and others wanting to learn more about supporting and accepting autistic individuals.
Questions? Visit http://bit.ly/AMCHPacceptance or contact us at [email protected]


The 2020 SPHARC Peer-2-Peer Exchange
The 2020 SPHARC Peer-to-Peer Exchange will take place in Iowa City, IA in June 2020 and will be hosted by the University of Iowa's Division of Child and Community Health (DCCH), which has a long history of training and employing family to family support staff, including hiring Iowa's first "parent consultant" in 1984. Today, the DCCH Family Navigator Network includes 32 Family Navigators, all of whom are the parent of caregiver of a child or youth with special health care needs. In addition to completing formal training, these professionals bring their own experience to their work with families, providing them with emotional support, systems navigation, and connections to community resources. Administered by DCCH, the Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) was created in 1990 to coordinate Iowa's System of Care for children and youth with/at risk for ASD/DD and their families. RAP funding currently supports 15 Family Navigators who are the parent of a child with ASD/DD. DCCH also administers two training programs that contribute to development of Family Navigators and family leaders: the Iowa Family Peer Support Training Program and the Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute.

Participants will learn how Iowa has developed a robust, statewide Family Navigator Network including training, certification, and continuing education. The Iowa Family Peer Support Training Program has developed a Scope of Service and training curriculum. Family Navigators who complete the training requirements are eligible for credentialing through the Iowa Board of Certification, which promotes adherence to competency and ethical standards and ensures families receive competent, professional services. While research related to this model is limited, early findings link the implementation of this model with an increased sense of collaboration and self-efficacy, increased empowerment to take action, decreased family isolation, and recognition of the importance of self-care.

At this time, no decisions have been made to modify, postpone, or cancel the event. AMCHP continues to be concerned by the COVID-19 situation and we are monitoring updates closely.


AMCHP 2020 Update

Out of concern for the health and safety of both our attendees and their families and due to travel restrictions brought on by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have postponed our annual conference scheduled for March 21-24, 2020 in Crystal City, VA. Your health is our top priority, and we hope to reschedule the conference for Fall 2020. We will keep everyone informed of any updates!

AMCHP's response to COVID-19
We recognize that there are many changes to the way we work (and many more changes to come) during this pandemic. AMCHP has been developing resources to help address these issues, as well as working with our federal agency and organizational partners to gather available information/resources and will be posting them to our website (www.amchp.org/covid-19) for your convenience. The site will be updated regularly as new resources become available.

Here are some additional COVID-related resources:

  • Center for Connected Health Policy's Quick Glance at state telehealth actions in response to COVID-19.
  • AMCHP's Four Fact Sheets on telehealth