Date of Award

4-25-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Marshall Kreuter, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

John Steward, MPH

Third Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun, PhD

Abstract

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. Proactive adult behaviors leading to early intervention are a child’s best hope to reach their full potential. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with Porter Novelli to develop a public health campaign called “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” The goal of this campaign was to increase awareness about the early warning signs of autism to help invoke positive behaviors in parents so that children receive services at the youngest age possible. HealthStyles survey data were analyzed to assess the difference in level of autism awareness of those surveyed before the campaign launch and of those surveyed two years post-campaign launch. Association between awareness of autism and early intervention behavior was also examined. Results of the study show improvements in awareness of autism issues; however, the results indicate minimal association between awareness and early intervention behavior. Further research efforts are essential to modify the campaign and target the issues necessary to instigate early intervention behavior.

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