This project was completed in September 2016

Jumpstart - Early Success with AutismJumpstart was a project designed to offer a model of individualized support to New Hampshire families and providers in order to support young children who have autism or autism-like characteristics. Jumpstart provided comprehensive, individualized support with a core of three important elements: development of functional communication skills, supported participation in socially inclusive environments, and multi-faceted family support. This model originated at the University of Southern Florida (Individual Supports Project), and has been replicated in several states throughout the nation including New Hampshire. The Jumpstart: Early Success with Autism project has provided training and technical assistance to families of young children and providers in New Hampshire with the intent to increase local capacity to implement this model since 1998.

As of October 2004, Jumpstart began operating on a fee-for-service basis so that the approach could continue following the six years of state grant support. NH families of children under age 3 can apply for Jumpstart support through their Early Supports and Services Provider and Area Agency. This is achieved by filling out an autism proposal to the state of NH, Division of Developmental Services. (Families can ask their ESS provider for more information.)

Jumpstart supported families and teams by providing intensive support, assisting children to communicate more conventionally, working to eliminate or reduce children's problem behaviors, and supporting families and caretakers to successfully address current and future opportunities and obstacles. The project coordinator, Ann Dillon, guided the process, supported by a second person (hired by the team/family through the proposal) to provide direct support for usually 12-20 hours per week, depending on family needs and desires. Often, families used the UNH jobs WEB site to locate students who have a special interest in providing support to young children who have autism.

The components of this model included provision of positive behavioral supports; child-directed, activity based intervention; systematic instruction, with a focus on communication. Specific hallmarks include:

  • Family guided, developmental and ecological assessment.
  • Functional assessment of problem behavior.
  • Person centered planning.
  • Family-guided intervention development.
  • Comprehensive, individualized support plan.
  • Family support in natural environments.
  • Longitudinal support.
Age Levels: 
Early Childhood