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 State Spotlight: Virginia

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Virginia's Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening and Diagnosis: Early Systematic Training in Effective Practices (ASD Early STEP) project uses a collective impact framework to create a model for systemic change that includes training on valid screening, and diagnostic tools for professionals, as well as providing resources and supports for families. The project partners with three communities in Virginia. The first site consists of the area around Norfolk (Seven Cities/Tidewater area).

To view Virginia's State Grantee Profile, click here. ​

To learn more about Virginia's work, contact Donna Gilles at dlgilles@vcu.edu or visit VCU's Partnership for People with Disabilities webpage he​re​.

Project Activities

Virginia's team focused on strengthening Virginia's infrastructure, increasing the number ofVirginia's State Plan.PNG professionals and families trained, and demonstrating a model for increased screening, identification, and diagnosis of children with ASD/DD. The project activities to accomplish these goals are discussed below.

Act Early State Plan

Virginia developed an Act Early State Plan to highlight the current state of systems that support children with ASD/DD and their families and give guidance to future.

To view the Act Early State Plan, click here.  

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Community Asset Mapping Sessions

Virginia's team facilitated asset mapping sessions in order to collect and share where local resources are for children with ASD/DD and their families.

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Autism Diagnostic and Screening Tools

A variety of tools focused on diagnostic and screening education was developed and disseminated for medical professionals that encounter children with special health care needs. In addition, training was also provided for team functioning, family-center care, cultural competency and Tier 2 ADOS.

To access tools and trainings, visit the Partnership for People with Disabilities webpage here.

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Building Family Supports

Virginia's team partnered with the Tidewater Autism Society of America and the Center for Family Involvement in order to give families with children with ASD/DD a strong support system and access to resources.

To visit the Tidewater Autism Society of America's webpage, click here.

To visit the Center for Family Involvement's webpage, click here.

Successes & Lessons Learned

Virginia's team had challenges finding the right populations for trainings, creating a repository, transitioning from support to ownership for sustainability, determining a third site, and collecting data. However, they were successful:

  • Adapting trainings to the needs of the community
  • Community mapping sessions
  • Ongoing communication and partnership
  • Community Resources Groups formed
  • Planning sessions

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