Autistic Spectrum Disorder Collaborative

Since 1995, the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has documented a steady increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Although autism has been recognized for more than fifty years, the recent increase in the number of children diagnosed with this condition has escalated concern among parents and professionals.

As a result, a statewide effort has begun to improve screening, diagnosis, and assessment of persons suspected of having an ASD. With funding from DDS, Valley Mountain Regional Center (VMRC) and the Center for Health Improvement (CHI) are supporting the development of the California ASD Collaborative. The collaborative is targeted at all interested persons who provide services for persons suspected of having an ASD—primary care providers, schools, mental health providers, academic medical centers and others that partner with regional centers to provide services for persons with this disorder. These interested persons and organizations come together into “learning teams” coordinated by regional centers throughout California. Each team commits to working to meet the strategic goals and objectives of the collaborative, and to measure and report data that indicate whether or not the goals are being met.

The long-term goal of the collaborative is to maximize the quality of services for persons suspected of having an ASD. For more information on this project, please contact Gregg Shibata, Project Manager, Center for Health Improvement, at (916) 154-9212 or email [email protected].

The Collaborative Charter, Mission, and Goals

Best Practices

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders Publication

New Data on ASD

DDS has recently released the 2003 Autism Report: Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Changes in the California Caseload, An Update: 1999 through 2002. This report is an update of the 1999 Autism Report.

  • 2003 Autism Report

More About Collaborative Learning

  • “A Framework for Collaborative Improvement: Lessons from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series” article published in Quality Management in Health Care (Summer 1998).
  • Bureau of Primary Health Care’s Health Disparities Collaborative website:
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement website:
  • Improving Chronic Illness Care website: