Expanding Access to Clinical Services for Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Therese L Mathews, Ashley M. Lugo, Melissa L. King, Laura L. Needelman, Paige E. McArdle, Natalie Romer, Megan Terry, Kathryn Menousek, Joseph H Evans, William J. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically diagnosed in the toddler and preschool years. Intensive early intervention (EI) using applied behavior analytic procedures is the evidenced-based intervention most effective in improving developmental outcomes. Unfortunately, there are numerous barriers to accessing EI services for toddlers with ASD. This article addresses (a) the process of developing an EI program using primarily applied behavior analytic services with multidisciplinary health care providers, (b) a description of the service delivery provided, (c) educational and training programs to increase qualified staff, and (d) advocacy efforts to improve community capacity. The EI program has sustained growth, improved child developmental outcomes, served as a training ground for EI providers, and yielded high parent satisfaction ratings. Suggestions for continued advocacy, education, research, and policy development related to the lack of access to EI for children with ASD is offered for pediatric health care providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Access to care
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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