Madison, WI. (June 28, 2011)- Gail Chödrön is one of 11 leaders selected from across the nation to serve as an Act Early Ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program. The national Act Early Initiative is a collaborative effort on behalf of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) to educate parents, healthcare professionals, and early educators about early childhood development, warning signs of autism and other developmental disabilities, and the importance of acting early on concerns about a child’s development.
Chodron, the Interdisciplinary Training Coordinator for the MCH LEND training program housed in the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, was selected as an Act Early Ambassador because of her commitment to improving the lives of children and families and increasing access to services for children with developmental disabilities.
Developmental disabilities are common in the United States. A recent study shows that approximately 1 in 6 children have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. It is important that these children are identified early and that they and their families receive the services and support they need. Chodron has a child diagnosed with autistic disorder who wasn’t screened for developmental delays until he was five, and therefore feels a strong personal connection to this work: “Because of my personal experience, I care about equipping every parent, childcare, and health professional with tools to identify delays early and make appropriate referrals quickly to get children and families needed supports immediately.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with national partners, created a public awareness campaign called “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” The campaign aims to educate parents about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders, and encourages developmental screening.