A LEND Trainee Reflects on Her Experience at the Region VII Act Early Summit

April 23, 2008

Trainees at the meeting
From left, LEND Trainees Anna, Abbie, Christy, and Sara at the Act Early Region VII Summit

The Act Early Regional Summit was held on February 28-29, 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri. This two day conference brought together leaders in the area of developmental disabilities, representing the states of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. The ultimate goal of the Summit Project is to enhance the relationships among key stakeholders and provide a forum to share information and ideas about how to improve the services for children and families with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities. One major focus of the Summit Project is to enhance the capacities of states to recognize the symptoms of autism and other developmental disabilities early on and to reduce the lag time between diagnosis and initiation of treatment and intervention services. Another major area of focus is to increase the knowledge and use of evidence-based practices when serving children and families.

Four LEND trainees from the Center for Child Health and Development at the University of Kansas Medical Center served as scribes during the last day of the conference. Conference attendees were divided into four groups based on their state of origin and assigned a personal scribe. With the assistance of a group facilitator, the trainee was responsible for recording and organizing the ideas each state came up with during the three hour interactive planning session and working lunch. A recently developed web-based guide was used to organize thoughts and ideas into long term outcomes, short term objectives, action plans, resources, and necessary funding sources. The new technology helped group members see both the big picture and the finer details regarding how to achieve overarching goals. Many great ideas were generated and discussions stimulated. After the individual states collaborated, a debriefing was held in the main conference room. Each state had the opportunity to share with the others about what their group came up with. Once the ideas and plans from all states are compiled, information from the Act Early Regional Summit conferences will be disseminated via the AUCD website. The degree of knowledge, dedication, and motivation the state leaders have is absolutely amazing. It was a great experience to be a part of and an inspiration for LEND trainees who are nearing graduation and about to launch their careers!

Anna Davidson, OTS, LEND Trainee