University of Wisconsin–Madison
autism child

Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior, and occurs in approximately one out of every 68 children. The Waisman Center is strongly committed to solving the autism puzzle and providing high-quality services to children and adults with autism and their families. The Waisman Center is uniquely positioned to make major advances in the understanding of autism because of its multidisciplinary approach and ability to conduct research, training, service, and outreach programs under one roof. The scope of the Waisman Center’s autism-related activities continues to expand as we actively pursue the development of more research into the causes, consequences and treatments of this complex disorder.

 

Our Programs

Act Early Ambassador
This project, which is sponsored by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, is designed to develop a network of state-level experts to improve early identification of autism and other developmental disabilities. Act Early Ambassadors serve as state liaisons to the national Act Early Initiative and act as a community champion or change agent to increase awareness activities and improvement of early identification practices.

Autism Treatment Programs
The Waisman Center Autism Treatment Programs are provided through a partnership with the UW Medical Foundation. Starting Together (comprehensive and focused treatment based on Applied Behavior Analysis and the Early Start Denver Model, ages 2-6 at WECP); Growing Together (focused treatment for parent and child to learn positive behavior, ages 6-14); Transitioning Together (focused treatment for parent and teen to support skill, resources and strategies for a successful transition to adult life).

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic
The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic that provides diagnosis and clinical care for children with a developmental disability including: autism spectrum disorders (ASD), intellectual disability, fragile X, and genetic disorders associated with developmental delay.

Evaluation of Developmental Monitoring using LTSAE in Early Head Start Settings
This study addresses the need to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of developmental monitoring using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) resources in Early Head Start settings. The goals of the study are to determine the feasibility of integrating LTSAE into Early Head Start operations, and to determine the impact of developmental monitoring using LTSAE on provider and parent knowledge and practice related to early identification of developmental delay

Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative
The Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative (WiCII) project aims to increase family-centered, integrated systems of care for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.

Wisconsin Study to Explore Early Development in Autism (SEED)
The overall goals of the SEED are to: characterize phenotypic variability and identify relatively homogenous subgroups of children with ASD; and investigate risk factors for ASD by comparing the early exposures and development of well-characterized ASD cases and controls selected to represent diverse population subgroups.

Wisconsin Surveillance of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities (WISADDS)
WISADDS is an investigation to monitor the number of 8-year-old children in the population with an ASD, or cerebral palsy (CP), or both. This surveillance system will help establish an accurate count of the number of children and families residing in Wisconsin affected by these disorders.

Completed Projects

  • Act Early State Systems Grant
    The goal of the Wisconsin Act Early State Systems grant is to develop and implement a sustainable training and technical assistance model for public health departments to use national resources from “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” and “Birth to Five. Watch me Thrive.” to support developmental monitoring in public health programs.
  • National Medical Home Autism Initiative
    Founded as a cooperative agreement by the federal Maternal Child Health Bureau and was a national technical assistance, resource and advocacy project designed to promote methods that improved the capacity of the medical home and early intervention community to identify, appropriately serve and integrate children with autism into their communities.
  • National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders
    This project promoted the use of evidence-based practices for intervention and education for infants, children, and youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families.
  • WI-IN Partnership to Evaluate Use of LTSAE in Childcare Settings
    The Wisconsin-Indiana (WI-IN) Partnership addresses the need to evaluate the use of the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) resources to support developmental monitoring in childcare systems. The WI-IN Partnership will solicit input from cross-sector stakeholders, and conduct and evaluate LTSAE integration in state professional development infrastructure, a learning cohort with Head Start/Early Head Start sites to develop a train-the-trainer model; and use in daily childcare operations in a diverse set of public and private childcare sites.