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Expertise in Indiana Health


a provider and child play with toys at a small table

The Early Autism Evaluation (EAE) Hub system is a statewide network of primary care practices committed to lowering the age of ASD diagnosis through improving rates of developmental screening and providing diagnostic evaluations for toddlers at-risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The EAE Hub system also serves as a laboratory to conduct health services research and a collaborative forum to promote idea development and innovation. Our goal is to develop and evaluate equitable service models that promote identification of autism and developmental disabilities and streamlined entry into interventions at the earliest point possible to improve child and family outcomes. The EAE team uses a variety of quality improvement and research methodologies to track performance and adherence to best practices as well as test innovative approaches to training, diagnosis, and care management of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Recent and ongoing projects

  • a child plays with a toy while a computer and camera in front of her conduct evaluationExamination of diagnostic accuracy of the EAE Hub system
  • Family satisfaction with the EAE hub model of evaluation
  • Evaluation of racial and ethnic profiles and disparities of children evaluated across the system
  • Development of EAE Hub-Spanish for Latine Spanish-speaking children at-risk for autism
  • Innovative models of resident and clinician training in autism diagnosis
  • Evaluation of eye-tracking biomarkers to improve accuracy of community-based autism diagnosis
  • Tracking autism prevalence and age of first diagnosis in a central Indiana Medicaid cohort

Our work is made possible by generous support from:

  • a provider and child play with bubblesRiley Children’s Foundation 
  • Kiwanis Indiana
  • Robert & Helen Haddad Family Foundation
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • Indiana Department of Health
  • Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
  • Purdue Big Ideas Competition 2.0
  • Society for Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics

Evidence for the EAE Hub Model

McNally Keehn, R., Swigonski, N., Enneking, B., Ryan, T., Monahan., P., Martin., A.M., Hamrick, L., Kadlaskar, G., Paxton, A., Ciccarelli, M., Keehn., B. Diagnostic accuracy of primary care clinicians across a statewide system of autism evaluation. Pediatrics. Published online July 18, 2023. 
*Connected Commentary highlighting this paper: 
Hyman, S. & Kroening, A. Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders in primary care: When you know, you know. Pediatrics. Published online July 18, 2023. 

Martin AM, Ciccarelli MR, Swigonski N, McNally Keehn, R. Evaluation of race and ethnicity across a statewide system of early autism evaluation. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.10.023.

McNally Keehn R, Tang Q, Swigonski N, Ciccarelli M. Associations Among Referral Concerns, Screening Results, and Diagnostic Outcomes of Young Children Assessed in a Statewide Early Autism Evaluation Network. Journal of Pediatrics. 2021; 233: 74-81.e8 doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.02.063

McNally Keehn R, Ciccarelli M, Szczepaniak D, Tomlin A, Lock T, Swigonski N. A Statewide Tiered System for Screening and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics. 2020 Aug;146(2):e20193876. 

Additional research affiliated with the EAE Hub System

McNally Keehn, R., Enneking, B., Ryan, T., James, C., Tang, Q., Blewitt, A., Tomlin, A., Corona, L., & Wagner., L. (in press). Tele-assessment of young children referred for autism spectrum disorder evaluation during COVID-19: Associations among clinical characteristics and diagnostic outcome. Autism. 

McNally Keehn, R; Enneking, B; James, C; Tang, Q; Rouse, M; Hines, E; Raches, C; Etling, A. Telehealth Evaluation of Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Clinician and Caregiver Perspectives. J Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Volume 43, Number 5, 7 June/July 2022, pp. 262-272(11) 10.1097/DBP.0000000000001043

McNally Keehn, R; Tomlin, A; Ciccarelli, MR. COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Access Barriers for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 42(7):p 599-601, September 2021. 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000988

EAE Hub system in the media