Emerging Practice

ASD in Primary Care Education (ASD-PRIME)

State/Jurisdiction: Tennessee
Setting: Clinical Community
Population: CYSHCN Families & Caregivers Medical & Public Health Professionals
Topic Area: Primary & Preventative Care Health Screening
NPMs: NPM 6: Developmental Screening NPM 11: Medical Home

Pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) are most families’ initial points of contact for first discussions about possible autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making crucial decisions about developmental concerns and referral during the first three years of life. Ideally, all children would be screened at 18- and 24-month well visits and those deemed at risk would receive prompt evaluations and appropriate services. However, for a variety of reasons (e.g., lack of PCP training/comfort, time/financial barriers), many children are still not screened at all, wait times for diagnostic assessment are tremendous, the average age of diagnosis remains above 4 years of age, and post-diagnostic care coordination is often unclear and variable. These factors disproportionately affect racially/ethnically/linguistically diverse, geographically isolated, impoverished, and under-resourced populations. To decrease age of ASD diagnosis, enable earlier intervention, build inclusive medical homes, and address existing gaps in equitable care, we must train a primary care workforce to better act on ASD concerns in toddlers and coordinate post-diagnostic care within the primary care setting.

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Implementation Handout

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Jeff Hine

Practice Website