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Date and Time: March 8, 2022 | 12-1:30pm

Program Description:

This session will focus on the importance of and processes currently used for developmental monitoring and screening of young children with or at risk for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD).  Information will be shared about current prevalence rates, evidence-based developmental and autism screening tools, and referral procedures in North Carolina.  Special emphasis will be on ways each of us can support child find activities by facilitating parent engagement in developmental monitoring using CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials.  Through videos and brief case scenarios, the early signs of autism spectrum disorder will be shared and discussed.


Stephanie Fox, PhD, joined the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities’ (CIDD) faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in August 2019. The focus of her research and clinical pursuits for approximately the past 13 years has been within the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities. Stephanie earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. After graduating from Pitt, Stephanie served as a project coordinator for the Pittsburgh Early Autism Study (PEAS), a large NIH-funded study of infants with an older sibling with ASD to examine behaviors that may predict a later ASD diagnosis. Stephanie completed her doctoral training at the University at Albany, SUNY. Over the course of her graduate school career, Stephanie continued to develop her interest in early detection, diagnosis, and intervention for ASD. From 2016 to 2018, Stephanie completed a predoctoral internship and two years of postdoctoral fellowship at the CIDD. She became a licensed psychologist in North Carolina in 2018. Since earning her license, Stephanie has focused her clinical efforts on ASD evaluations for infants and toddlers, training parents and providers, and working with children with complex symptom presentations. In her role as Clinical Assistant Professor, Stephanie serves as the lead psychologist on three clinic teams, including the dual-discipline Early Childhood Clinic, the School Age Autism Clinic, and the Interdisciplinary School Age Team. She also serves as a clinician for the multi-site NICHD Neonatal Research Network and a contract psychologist for the Child and Adolescent Units at Central Regional Hospital. Stephanie has focused her recent efforts toward increasing early intervention services offered at the CIDD by developing and implementing a parent training program for parents of young children with developmental disabilities based on the Early Start Denver Model.

Rebecca Pretzel, PhD, is the Associate Director and a psychologist at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at UNC-CH with an appointment at the Professor level in the UNC Department of Psychiatry. At the CIDD, she serves as Director of the NC-LEND Program, the UCEDD Associate Director, and the Director of Clinical Services. Becky has many years of experience in assessment and treatment planning for children with or at risk for developmental disabilities and their families. Particular areas of expertise and interest include the assessment of children who have low incidence or multiple and complex developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, visual impairment, rare genetic and metabolic disorders, and behavioral disorders. Becky provides direct training and supervision to psychology/ interdisciplinary graduate students and maintains a limited clinical practice at the CIDD. She is/has been a Principal Investigator for multiple federal and state grants including two HRSA-funded ASD State Implementation grants, three AMCHP state system grants, and the statewide quality improvement project (National Core Indicators) for the Division of MH/DD/SAS. Becky also serves as a CDC Act Early Ambassador for the Learn the Signs. Act Early. program and offers training and resource support related to developmental monitoring, screening and early identification to physicians, healthcare, early care and education professionals and families.

Learning Objectives: 

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast between developmental monitoring and screening young children with or at risk for ASD/DD.
  2. Identify at least 2 different evidence-based screening tools for ASD/DD.
  3. Recognize at least 1 potential sign of ASD/DD in a child’s growth and development using the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials.


Herlihy, L. E., Brooks, B., Dumont-Mathieu, T., Barton, M. L., Fein, D., Chen, C. M., & Robins, D. L. (2014). Standardized screening facilitates timely diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in a diverse sample of low-risk toddlers. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: JDBP35(2), 85-92.

Lipkin, P.H., Macias, M.M. COUNCIL ON CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES, SECTION ON DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS. (2019). Promoting optimal development: Identifying infants and young children with developmental disorders through developmental surveillance and screening. Pediatrics, 145(1) e20193449.

Robins, D. L., Casagrande, K., Barton, M., Chen, C. M., Dumont-Mathieu, T., & Fein, D. (2014). Validation of the modified checklist for Autism in toddlers, revised with follow-up (M-CHAT-R/F). Pediatrics133(1), 37–45.