Last updated on October 2018

Screening and Linkage to Services for Autism


Brief description of study

The SaLSA (Screening and Linkage to Services for Autism) study will test whether patient navigation can help disadvantaged families obtain earlier diagnosis and treatment for their children who have had a positive screening test for autism spectrum disorder. Half of the families will be offered help from an autism patient navigator. The other half will receive standard care.

Detailed Study Description

Despite its relatively high rate of occurrence, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is under-diagnosed and under-treated in young children, particularly in minority and disadvantaged populations. Although screening for ASD in the primary care setting is recommended as best practice, inadequate attention has been paid to addressing important obstacles to early recognition of ASD, including barriers to referral after positive screening, completion of diagnostic evaluations, and receipt of treatment. Patient navigation was originally developed to reduce health care disparities. The patient navigator guides patients with suspicious findings (e.g., a positive screening test) through and around barriers to care to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. Patient navigation has improved receipt of preventive care among low-income, minority children but has not been tested for improving early identification and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The goal of this study is to test the effectiveness and feasibility of patient navigation to facilitate autism screening follow-up, diagnostic evaluation, and linkage to early intervention in a very young, disadvantaged, minority population. To increase patient navigation's potential for widespread application and public health impact, this study uses the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, a set of criteria for translating research into action, to guide planning and evaluation. The intervention's Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance over time will be examined.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02374541

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Kristina Hightshoe, MSPH

Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver
Aurora, CO United States

Carolyn G. DiGuiseppi, MD, MPH

University of Colorado
Aurora, CO United States

Kristina Hightshoe, MSPH

Denver Health and Hospital Authority
Denver, CO United States