INDIANAPOLIS — Stephan Viehweg, associate director of the Riley Child Development Center at the IU School of Medicine and interim director of the IUPUI Center for Translating Research Into Practice, has been selected a second time to serve as an Act Early Ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program.
He will play an important role in educating Indiana’s parents, health care 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.
Developmental disabilities are common in the United States. A recent study shows that about 1 in 6 children has been diagnosed with a developmental disability. It’s important that these children are identified early and that they and their families receive the services and support they need.
“This campaign seeks to help parents and their caregivers to identify developmental delays at the youngest age possible to help these kids catch up to be ready for school,” Viehweg said. “As Indiana’s ambassador, I will be promoting the use of the free materials and learning opportunities.
“I will be offering workshops at various statewide conferences and meetings; working with systems to include the ‘Learn the Signs. Act Early.’ materials to parents, families and community members; and collaborating with Indiana’s network of programs, providers and parent organizations in a collective effort to increase awareness of autism and other developmental delays and link children and their families to assessment and services.”
Viehweg completed an 18-month term as an Act Early Ambassador in April. He was selected recently through a competitive process to complete a second, two-year term.
According to the CDC, Viehweg was selected because of his commitment to improving the lives of children and families and increasing access to services for children with developmental disabilities. The Act Early Ambassadors project is designed to develop a network of state-level experts to improve early identification of developmental delay and disability. It is a collaborative project of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.