UM Receives Prestigious Grant to Help Families Affected by Autism

April 05, 2016

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has received a $20,000, two-year grant from the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs to increase parent-engaged developmental monitoring of autism. 

The Developmental Monitoring within State Systems grant is one of 12 awarded by the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This grant will be used to bolster the development of the Montana Autism Center, its online presence and collaborative activities with community partners across the state through the promotion of the CDC program “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”

Ann Garfinkle, associate professor in the UM Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Marty Blaire, executive director of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, will lead the implementation of the grant.

“We were fortunate to be funded for our second round in this highly competitive process,” said Garfinkle. “We are excited about the work it will allow us to do statewide to further support the growth of the infrastructure for services and support for the identification and treatment of children with autism and related developmental disabilities.”

Organizations to be impacted by the grant include Head Start/Early Head Start, various health/medical care providers, children and family advocacy organizations and more. This award also will help propel innovative growth and services within the Montana Autism Center, which works to connect families, individuals, educators, researchers and many others.

“We are confident this funding will have an impact in our state and continue our connection to the important national campaign,” Garfinkle said.

Funded by the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the LTSAE program provides educational information to parents, health care professionals and early care and educational providers about the importance of early identification and intervention for children at risk for developmental disabilities, such as autism.

To learn more about the LTSAE program, the Montana Autism Center or the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, email Garfinkle at  


Contact: Crissy Laubach-Young, outreach and fiscal specialist, UM Department of Curriculum and Instruction, 406-243-4217,