In 2012, an interdisciplinary team of faculty in the Department of Pediatrics developed an innovative tiered system of developmental screening and diagnostic evaluations within primary care settings for young children ages 14-48 months. The Early Autism Evaluation (EAE) Hub system has been implemented across multiple health systems around the state, stretching from South Bend to Evansville and has served nearly 5,000 children to date.
During the 2022 calendar year, 670 children were served across the EAE Hubs at an average age of 30 months, with nearly 60% of children receiving a diagnosis of autism. The system has reduced the wait time for evaluation from one year to less than three months for the majority of the children seen, thereby reducing the age of diagnosis.
Early Autism Evaluation System Outcomes for 2022
The goal of this initiative continues to be to improve localized access to early diagnostic evaluations for young children who are found to be at increased likelihood of autism and/or developmental delay based on developmental screening and/or parental caregiver or clinician concerns. Regardless of their diagnoses, eligible children are referred to receive subsequent evidence-based interventions at the earliest age possible.
Early Evaluation Hubs
The Early Autism Evaluation (EAE) Hub system has trained and coached 20 practices since its launch, building advanced skills in screening, diagnosis, and management of young children with autism for over 60 primary care clinicians. Currently we have nine teams across Indiana who perform evaluations and participate in the monthly learning collaborative group activities, which include content on challenging case presentations, updated autism diagnosis and care management practice standards, billing and coding guidance, and information on statewide autism spectrum disorder (ASD) resources.
Early Autism Evaluation Hub Locations
This map demonstrates the approximate geographic coverage of hub sites, in receiving referrals from surrounding counties.
The list of current sites and contact information can be found below.
The following is an algorithm representing the evaluation procedure used during an EAE hub clinical evaluation. It incorporates a review of developmental screening results, a diagnostic interview including assessment of DSM-5 criteria for autism and a medical and developmental history, the administration of a structured observational assessment for autism (i.e., Screening Tool for Autism in Toddlers and Young Children; STAT), and physical examination, followed by integration of the data to formulate and present a clinical diagnosis to the family, and then the creation and dissemination of a clinical report which includes recommended next steps for care management.