Two Grants Provide Care for Children with Special Needs

BALTIMORE, MD (August 27, 2013) - The Parents’ Place of Maryland (PPMD), in coordination with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), has been awarded two grants to help improve the identification and care of children with autism spectrum disorders, other developmental disabilities and epilepsy. The grant funding is from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

These grants are the “State Implementation Grant for Improving Services for Maryland Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities” in the amount of $240,000 per year for 3 years, and “Access Improvement Grant for Maryland Children and Youth with Epilepsy,” with an award amount of $390,000 per year for 3 years. 

“We are very excited about this opportunity to work with families to improve the identification, care, and outcomes for these children with special health care needs,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the DHMH.

It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of children have a developmental delay, and early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities is a critical first step to receiving early intervention services. In addition, approximately 0.7 percent of children nationwide have epilepsy, or a seizure disorder.  Since 2007, the Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs (OGPSHCN) at DHMH has collaborated with PPMD to improve rates of developmental screening by pediatric practices. However, it is difficult to assure that children with concerns identified through screening reach early intervention and diagnostic services.
 
The grants awarded to PPMD aim to increase early diagnosis, coordination of care and improved transition to adult health care. The funds will be used to support 11 Parent Medical Home Partners across the state who will serve as consultants to participating medical practices regarding family-professional partnerships, as well as to fund public awareness campaigns for both disorders, and provider quality improvement activities.
 
“Family-professional partnerships are integral to quality health care,” said Josie Thomas, Executive Director of PPMD.  “We are looking forward to expanding our work with pediatric providers, and partnering with other parent organizations to improve care for these children and families.” 
 
PPMD was founded in 1991 by parents of children and youth with disabilities to provide support for other families facing similar challenges. The organization provides peer support as well as information and education to families, professionals and the community.

For more information about these projects, please contact Josie Thomas (PPMD) at 
410-768-9100 or 1-800-394-5694; or Meredith Pyle (OGPSHCN) at 410-767-6730.   
 
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