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The Chattanooga Autism Center has proposed an exploratory venture with Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership (NGHP) to open an autism clinic to narrow the services and supports gap in the Northwest Georgia region.
Research was conducted by the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability, The Center for Leadership and Disability at Georgia State University (CLD) and the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia (IHDD), and their Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) Systems of Care project 2013-2014 which focused on the current system of care in Georgia and led to the following findings:
Families and individuals with disabilities do not have adequate access to public services and supports required for their health, academic success, and independence needed to live in the community. Based on the ten areas of activity outlined in the 2013 Georgia Autism Plan, there are data-driven quality indicators defining the desired outcomes tied to areas of concern based on stakeholder reports, recommendations on how to address problems identified, and specific objectives to achieve the recommendations.
Research from the Georgia Center for Leadership in Disability and GaLEND states that positive change has come from the utilization of medical home models, implementation of community-based supports, facilitation of inter- and intra-agency communication and collaboration, and the creation of a DD/BH task force working group. The Chattanooga Autism Center structure has supplementary services that are needed in the rural communities in Georgia.
Based on these findings we recommend the state Autism Plan as a model that should include collaboration with local agencies in the ten areas identified in the state plan:
Early Identification and Screening; Referral and Diagnosis; Medical, Behavioral Health, and Dental Services; Family Support; Early Intervention and Preschool Services; Elementary and Secondary Education; Community Services and Supports; Transition from Youth to Adult Systems; Adult Services and Supports; and Emergency Preparedness and First Responders.
The findings of this report suggest there is evidence to support the growth of services and supports for the disability community in the Northwest Georgia region in the areas of autism services and developmental disabilities. It is recommended that a model based on the Center for Leadership in Disability’s person-centered approach is the results-based best practice approach.