ECHO Autism STAT: Accelerating Early Access to Autism Diagnosis.

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Although early diagnosis of autism is critical for promoting access to early intervention, many children experience significant diagnostic delays. Shortages of healthcare providers, limited capacity at autism centers, and geographic and socioeconomic challenges contribute to these delays. The current pilot study examined the feasibility of a new model for training community-based primary care providers (PCPs) in underserved areas in screening and diagnosis of young children at highest risk for autism. By combining hands-on training in standardized techniques with ongoing virtual mentorship and practice, the program emphasized both timely diagnosis and appropriate referral for more comprehensive assessment when necessary. Results indicated improvements in PCP practice and self-efficacy, and feasibility of the model for enhancing local access to care.

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Journal of autism and developmental disorders