The Autism Plan For Georgia
In 2011, the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University received the Georgia Autism Planning Grant to begin the work, with an Advisory Council, to structure and organize stakeholder input, and create a plan that would capture recommendations for creating high-quality, family-centered, comprehensive, coordinated systems of services and supports that would be accessible and available to all children with autism and related disorders.
The Advisory Council is comprised of key stakeholders in Georgia representing federal, state, and local governments, children, youth, and adults with autism, parents of individuals with autism, providers, and professional and advocacy organizations.
As a result of project activities, ten areas of focus emerged from surveys and discussions with families, providers, and policy-makers: Early Identification and Screening; Referral and Diagnosis; Health and Dental Services; Family Support, Early Intervention and Preschool Services; Elementary and Secondary Education; Community Services and Supports, Transition from Youth to Adult Systems, Adult Services and Supports, and Emergency Preparedness and First Responders. For each of these areas, quality indicators, data drivers, recommendations and problem statements were developed to support each area’s objectives.
Six years later, more than 200 initiatives, provided by more than 30 partners, have been developed and implemented to support the ten areas of activity. Under the Autism Plan for Georgia (APG), there is increased awareness and intervention related to autism within underserved communities in both urban and rural sections of the state. Families have benefited from an increase in financial scholarships, grants and access to medical services due to the plan, and the amount of peer-led materials, webinars, toolkits and online resources are now more easily available.
Efforts associated with the APG have extended beyond the initial funding periods. For example, we are hosting our third Autism Conference and Expo of Georgia May 3rd– 4th in Atlanta. We are currently in the process of updating the plan and continuing to strengthen partnerships with stakeholders to solidify gains and identify new areas for future growth.
For a complete list of all of the initiatives of the Georgia Autism Plan of Georgia, go to the website: http://ga-autismplan.com/.
* Funding for the Planning and Implementation grants was made possible through the Combating Autism Act (now Autism Cares Act), Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.