Reducing Time to Autism Diagnosis for Toddlers Enrolled in Early Intervention

Project: Research project

Project Details


Purpose: As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, face-to-face medical diagnostic evaluations provided through the Illinois (IL) Bureau of Early Intervention (EI) were discontinued on March 16th, 2020. Such diagnostic services provide autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses that are required access to early intensive and specialized intervention through health insurance. The cancellation of face-to-face services caused an unprecedented need for feasible, acceptable, and valid telepractice methods for ASD diagnosis and placed demands on a pre-existing inefficient and ineffective medical ASD diagnostic pathway. Subsequently, waitlists for medical diagnostic appointments in IL increased from approximately 3 months to 9.5 months. Early access to specialized and intensive intervention during a critical window of neuroplasticity (i.e., before 36 months of age) is essential for optimizing developmental, academic, and quality of life outcomes. The purpose of this proposal is: (1) to provide immediate ASD diagnostic evaluations for 1,224 toddlers enrolled in IL’s EI program and (2) to evaluate a more efficient, equitable, accurate, feasible, and cost effective EI ASD diagnostic pathway.
Effective start/end date7/1/228/31/26


  • Institute of Education Sciences (R324X220088 - 23)


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