State Spotlight-Colorado


Colorado is a highly educated state, but ranks 49th in state and local funding for higher education. They also rank 44th in funding for Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities services. Colorado's team included the Autism Society of Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and the ABCD Program.

To view Colorado's State Grantee Profile, click here.   

To learn more about Colorado's work, visit CO Collaborative for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Options (CANDO), Autism Colorado, or JFK Partners webpage.

Project Activities

Colorado aimed to expand partnerships between professionals and families of children and youth with ASD and other developmental disabilities and improve access to a medical home that coordinates and co-manages care with pediatric subspecialties and other services. Their activities are described below.

Supported Implementation of the 10 Year Strategic Plan

The SIG Grant supported the work of the Colorado CANDO to implement portions of the 10-year strategic plan that was developed by the Colorado Autism Commission. The plan focuses on expanding the resources, services, and supports available to Colorado citizens with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and all neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Project CASCADE addressed areas such as:

  • Expanding partnerships between professionals and families of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD)
  • Improving access to a medical home
  • Increasing access to adequate health insurance and financing
  • Increasing early and continuous screening in the medical home 
  • Improving organization of community services for easy use by families
  • Improving transition to all aspects of adult health care, work, and independence

To learn more about the 10-year strategic plan, click here.

To access the 10-year strategic plan, click here. Colorado Gap Analysis.PNG

Assuring Better Child Health and Development

The Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) project increased the number of medical practices that use the M-CHAT for screening. The ABCD project has successfully collaborated with National Jewish Hospital and Denver Health with new funding that will sustain the training and outreach beyond the three year SIG grant and a focus on referral and follow up.

Gap Analysis 

A gap analysis was completed to assess the systemic needs of children, youth and adults with co-occurring behavioral health disorders and intellectual/developmental disabilities. This was related to recommendation 14 from the Commission Report, "Improve access to quality mental health services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder".

To learn more about the Gap Analysis Project, click here.  

To access the Final Report, click here.


Colorado conducted over 90 training and webinar events to increase awareness of ASD, including screening, diagnosis and treatment.
In addition, 113 medical practices received technical assistance on screening and diagnosis.

Successes & Lessons Learned

Colorado accomplished goals such as:

  • Outreach education to promote partnerships between families and professionals
  • Expanding education and outreach regarding the use of private insurance to ensure mandated treatment of ASD
  • Completing an assessment of systemic needs of children, youth and adults with co-occurring behavioral health disorders and intellectual/developmental disabilities
  • The ABCD project using screening and referral as a community health priority to achieve medical home for children
  • Developing a tool, in coordination with the Colorado Care Coordination Community of Practice, for helping practices and providers measure care coordination outcomes by cross walking Care Coordination Toolkit outcomes with the Medical Home Index Survey
  • The Colorado Department of Education merged its taskforce with the CO-CANDO sub-committee to improve coordination efforts

Colorado continues to struggle with developing a cross-agency data collection system that will effectively integrate ASD/DD data reporting and analysis, and establishing linkages with an existing database system to track each child's progression from a positive screen through diagnosis and treatment services. Additionally, there is an absence of sufficient state resources for diagnostic evaluation resulting in primary care provider resistance to developmental screening. Finally, Colorado struggles with crisis intervention services for people with ASD and co-occurring Mental Health or Behavioral Health Disorder, youth transitioning to adult services, and employment.

To access more of Colorado's resources through SPHARC's search engine, click here.