Partner Spotlight: Margaret Jordan
CARE Alliance (Connecticut Autism Research and Education Alliance)
CARE Alliance Engages Local Communities
As a businesswoman, Margaret Jordan tackled challenges with a solid approach and a team of dedicated people. So, when her 2½-year-old son was diagnosed with autism she immediately swung into action to give him the best therapy and intervention possible.
“We knew that something was wrong. Garrett wasn’t speaking or interacting like other children his age,” says Jordan. “When we got the diagnosis, my husband and I were scared and decided to do everything we possibly could to help Garrett overcome this disability and live a normal life.”
When the Jordans began educating themselves on autism, a lot of the information they found was outdated and did not apply to the needs of today’s children.
“We felt like we were on our own,” said Margaret. “There was no place to find updated and accurate information on early intervention programs.”
Working with a variety of health professionals, Garrett’s teachers, and extended family, the Jordans put together an intensive intervention program. Garrett responded extremely well to the program and is well on his way to meeting his full potential.
To help other parents in the same situation, Margaret and her husband, Chris established the Connecticut Autism Research and Education Alliance (CARE Alliance) in 2004 as a way to provide children with autism, parents and service providers with opportunities for early intervention. CARE Alliance is a donor-funded nonprofit organization. CARE Alliance also provides materials and information to help manage and maintain intensive and extensive intervention programs.
Early on, a leading doctor in autism intervention, Dr. Michael Powers, read an article about Garrett and CARE Alliance and contacted the Jordans. Dr. Powers told them about a new awareness program that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was launching in the spring of 2005 called “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
“I was so excited to hear that CDC was launching a campaign to help educate parents on childhood development,” Jordan says. “A child’s social and cognitive milestones are just as important as the physical milestones. As we were experiencing with Garrett, the earlier developmental delays are identified, the more that can be done to help a child reach his or her full potential.”
Because the campaign was so important, CARE Alliance signed on to help spread the word about “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” In October 2004, CARE Alliance staff and volunteers began introducing themselves to local health professionals. They also shared the news that CDC was going to be launching a new campaign in 2005 and that they would come back with information and helpful materials.
In February 2005, CARE Alliance went back to those health care professionals and others with campaign materials. To make sure everyone in their local community heard the message, the Jordans also helped distribute campaign public service announcements to local broadcast outlets. With a connection through a CARE Alliance board member, they were able to secure placement on the local NBC station as well as on several local radio programs.
During Autism Awareness Month (April), CARE Alliance committed to distribute “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” health care professional resource kits to all pediatricians in the state of Connecticut. Margaret and her volunteers are well on their way to this goal. During that month, they distributed 50 to 60 kits every week. They continue to reach out with kits and the simple message that monitoring a young child’s social and cognitive development is a critical component to early detection of developmental and behavioral disorders.
For more information on CARE Alliance, please visit www.ctautism.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO