Act Early New Hampshire!

March 27, 2013

The New Hampshire LEND faculty and former trainees have provided ongoing leadership to coordinate a number of Act Early initiatives within the state in collaboration with NH's Title V program for CSHCN (Special Medical Services), the Association of Maternal and Child Health Professionals (AMCHP), the NH Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other key stakeholders.  

NH LEND had a key role in organizing NH's Act Early Team beginning in 2010.  Initial activities included statewide distribution of Act Early materials, the development of a "road map" to guide families in the next steps following a developmental screening, and collaboration with Watch Me Grow, NH's statewide system for early developmental screening.  The Act Early Team's activities were directly aligned with the work of the NH Council on ASD's Screening and Diagnosis workgroup.  In December 2011, this workgroup assumed the responsibilities of the Act Early Team under the leadership of Director of Special Medical Services for CSHCN, Elizabeth Collins, RN-BC, MS, (LEND 2005). 

Based on the identified need for more collaboration among providers, Collins spearheaded an AMCHP Act Early State Systems Grant in 2012.  Act Early Ambassador and NH LEND Faculty, Rae Sonnenmeier, Ph.D. (LEND 1997), NH LEND Training Director, Betsy Humphreys, Ph.D. (LEND 1995), and the Act Early Team collaborated to host two Open Forums on the topic of early developmental screening with primary care providers, early childhood programs, and families.  Approximately 75 participants learned about early developmental screening efforts in the state, including the use of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3, ASQ-SE) and the M-CHAT in primary care settings.  Additionally, the AMCHP grant supported integration of information about early development as part of the NH Council on ASD's "virtual resource center" ( coordinated by Kirsten Murphy, Administrative Director of the NH Council on ASD (LEND 2010). 

A second AMCHP Act Early State Systems Grant was recently awarded for 2013.  LEND Faculty, Rae Sonnenmeier, Ph.D. and Jenn Pineo (LEND 2012) are collaborating with New Hampshire's Women Infants and Children (WIC), Food and Nutrition Services program to integrate Act Early messaging into one regional WIC office and coordinate with the local Watch Me Grow site to support a seamless point of contact within the region.  This effort will support educating families about early developmental screening, based on the work of Janet Farmer and colleagues who partnered with WIC in St. Louis.

Jen Doris, M.Ed. (LEND 2010) was recently named as the second NH Act Early Ambassador (2013-2014), taking the reins from Rae Sonnenmeier, who served in this role in 2012.  To date, Act Early Ambassador activities in New Hampshire have included coordinated efforts to integrate Act Early messaging into NH's statewide developmental screening system, known as Watch Me Grow. Efforts are underway to blend Act Early graphics into the Watch Me Grow brochure and website.  Collaboration and communication strategies with primary care providers, including family medicine, will be a focus in the coming year.

To learn more about New Hampshire's collaborating partners please visit: 

New Hampshire Title V Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs at

The New Hampshire LEND Program at

The New Hampshire Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders at