Learn the Signs. Act Early. Connecticut

Learn the Signs

Act Early is a national campaign to improve the early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can receive the services and support that they need. This initiative was created by the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and other federal partners.  Through a grant application process, one of our Early Childhood Specialist Research Associates has been selected to become the Act Early Ambassador for the state of Connecticut.  Through this role, we will serve as the Connecticut liaison to the national Act Early campaign, provide training and technical assistance to state agencies, local programs, community health centers, and other health care agencies to increase the identification and service provision to infants and young children and their families.


Regular screening allows both professionals and families to celebrate progress and identify useful supports for children who have a developmental delay. Developmental screenings are recommended and useful for all children because early treatment and intervention will help children reach their potential. Screenings are short tests that assess a child’s development and help identify delays. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for children at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months. Usually children can be diagnosed with autism at 24 months.

Information adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Act Early Ambassador

Act Early Ambassadors expand the reach of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program and support their respective state’s work toward improving early identification of developmental delays and disabilities, including autism.

Since 2011, professionals with medical, child development, developmental disability, special education, and early intervention expertise have been selected to

  • Serve as a state or territorial point-of-contact for the national “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program;
  • Support the work of Act Early Teams and other state/territorial or national initiatives to improve early identification of developmental delay and disability; and
  •  Promote the adoption and integration of “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” resources into systems that serve young children and their families.

Connecticut's Act Early Ambassador is Bethanne Vergean, Early Childhood Specialist at UCEDD. She can be reached at vergean@uchc.edu.

Additional Resources

Connecticut Guidelines for a Clinical Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Free Milestone Tracker App

Tools for Tracking Milestones

Children's Books

Development Checklists

Milestones in Action

Tips for When There’s a Developmental Concern

How to Talk with the Doctor Tip Sheet

Information for Families