Act Early TexasAutism once again took center stage across the nation when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new figures indicating that 1 in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder. Autism, also called autism spectrum disorders, is associated with qualitative behavioral impairments in socialization, verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors.

When children are screened and diagnosed with autism at a young age, early interventions are more likely to lead to better outcomes — helping children be more prepared for success in school and life. But are children, parents and adults receiving the proper resources for autism care and education?

To address statewide gaps in autism resources, pediatrician and child neurologist Dr. Pauline Filipek is inviting Texas residents to participate in a short survey regarding the needs of young Texans with an autism spectrum disorder. The survey, called Act Early Texas!, is anonymous, confidential and can be accessed by visiting www.actearlytexas.org.  It is available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese and is open through June 30, 2014.

Filipek is asking participants to complete this survey regarding their experiences as a parent, advocate and/or individual with an autism spectrum disorder. As director of a State Planning Grant funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, she is working with stakeholders to identify educational and health care needs in order to develop a statewide plan to address gaps in services.

For questions or more information about the Act Early Texas! survey, contact Amanda Marlow Swift, program manager, at 713-500-3849 or Amanda.Marlow@uth.tmc.edu.

-Andy Heger, Office of Advancement, Media Relations