Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Federal Resources

WWW: Federal Autism Activities: Agencies Are Encouraging Early Identification and Providing Services, and Recent Actions Could Improve Coordination (GAO-16-446) (May 2016) Government Accountability Office - Research has shown that early identification and intervention can greatly improve the development of a child with autism. This GAO report examines: (1) how federal agencies encourage early autism identification and interventions, (2) the intervention services provided by federal education and health care programs, and (3) steps taken by federal agencies to improve research coordination. The GAO believes improved cross-agency coordination is still needed.

OSEP Letter on Services to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (July 7, 2015) - Addresses concerns about services for children with ASD, clarifying the requirements of the IDEA related to the provision of services for children with disabilities, including children with ASD. OSEP regularly updates its collection of policy letters regarding the early childhood provisions of the IDEA 2004 statute and regulations.

PDF: The Combating Autism Act of 2011 - The Combating Autism Act of 2006 was signed by President Bush on December 19, 2006. This Act expands activities related to autism research, surveillance, prevention, screening, early detection and intervention, education, training and treatment. The new legislation will increase federal spending on autism by at least 50 percent. It includes provisions relating to the diagnosis and treatment of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and expands and intensifies biomedical research on autism. The Act also calls on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to enhance information sharing. The IACC provides a forum to facilitate the efficient and effective exchange of information about autism activities, programs, policies, and research among the Federal government, several non-profit groups, and the public. The Combating Autism Act requires the IACC to provide information and recommendations on ASD-related programs, and to continue its work to develop and update annually a strategic plan for ASD research.

The Combating Autism Act of 2011 (PUBLIC LAW 112–32) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 20, 2011. This law ensures that the programs established under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 continue for an additional three years, including CDC surveillance programs, HRSA interdisciplinary training programs, and research at NIH.

WWW: Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee - The Children's Health Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-310), Title I, Section 104, mandated the establishment of an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to coordinate autism research and other efforts. The National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health has been designated the lead for this activity. WWW: Members of IACC include agencies across departments and parents or legal guardians of individuals with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders. See all WWW: publications from the IACC, including the 2013 IACC summary of advances, Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: Calendar Year 2013 (April 2014).

State of the States for Services and Supports for People with ASD (2014) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services - This report summarizes data on existing programs and policies for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It includes information related to the following questions:

  • What are states and/or local government doing to provide services for people with ASD?
  • What are the types of services and supports that a person with ASD can access?
  • How are these supports and services funded?

WWW: Autism Awareness and Acceptance in Early Childhood Education - This Website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families (ACF) includes fact sheets, videos, tips, and links to state-specific resources. One of the resources includes PDF: Tips for Early Care and Education Providers: Simple Concepts to Embed in Everyday Routines (2013) offered by autism intervention researchers around the country and compiled by ACF and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

WWW: Knowledge Path on Autism Spectrum Disorders (2014). The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Library, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, has developed this electronic guide to resources on ASD. It contains sections on early identification, early intervention and education, concerns about vaccines, and environmental health research.

Federal Grants and Research

WWW: Combating Autism: National Research Projects - This Website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a single source of information about national projects conducting research on interventions to improve the health and well being of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

Office of Special Education Programs Discretionary Grants Database - To search for current early childhood autism projects funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), click on start - show filter - then select a disability (autism) and an age (birth to three or three to five or both). Most of the results will be Personnel Preparation projects.

WWW: Institute of Education Sciences' Research Grants Database - To search for current early childhood research projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, enter the word autism as a keyword in the search box and select "early intervention and early learning special education" from the Program dropdown list (found under Special Education Research).

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2018 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute