New Alliances Improve Access to Local Developmental Services

Community Asset Mapping (CAM) in WA State

Through a facilitated process called Community Asset Mapping (CAM), communities have expanded existing resources and unlocked new energy. The goal of this work is to establish coordinated and accessible systems of care enabling families to receive timely and appropriate developmental screening and support through the diagnostic process for all developmental concerns. This includes working with the multidisciplinary diagnostic centers across the state, the local school districts, community health providers, early childhood providers, public health and many others.

Seventeen counties across Washington State have improved early identification and diagnosis of children with autism and other developmental concerns. Twelve communities have participated in a formal version of CAM with outside technical assistance and have gone on to develop additional activities.

The first CAM communities focused on children with or at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Through the federal Great MINDS (Medical Homes Include Developmental Screening) grant (2011-14), Clark, Spokane and Snohomish counties expanded the focus to all young children.  The current federal AS3D Grant (Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities) has expanded support for serving children at risk for ASD and their families in Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific and Cowlitz Counties.  After CAM communities have made inroads in improving their early identification and assessment systems, they often begin working on improving a broader range of post-diagnosis services for children and families.

Support for CAM in WA State

Support for CAM comes from the University of Washington LEND program, the Washington State Department of Health, and the WA State Medical Home Partnerships Project (MHPP).

History of CAM in WA State

The CAM project grew out of a summit in 2009 held by the Washington Autism Advisory Council and has benefited greatly from the active support of the council as a whole. Generous volunteer technical assistance from individual council members has been particularly valuable for the community coalitions. Dr. Glenn Tripp, Medical Director, Developmental Services at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Tacoma, Dr. Charles Cowan, former Medical Director of the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s and Dr. Wendy Stone, Director of the UW Research in Early Autism Detection and Intervention (READI) Lab have provided valuable regular in-person presentations, consultation and community dialogues with CAM communities over the past several years. Medical Home Leadership Network (MHLN) teams have been at the forefront of these efforts.

CAM with Autism Focus

The initial communities that began this process during the 2009-2011 period used the Tiers to Autism Diagnosis Pyramid as the organizing framework for their discussion. Other products from this project include:

See Autism Initiatives Overview for more information on CAM communities with a focus on ASD.

CAM with Universal Developmental Screening Focus

In June of 2013 Clark and Spokane Counties held facilitated community discussions with the emphasis around General Developmental Screening. Snohomish County held their facilitated discussion in June of 2014. An updated pyramid, Tiers to Developmental Diagnosis and Referral for Services, (table) was developed as the organizing framework for these discussions.