Partner Spotlight: Ron Oberleitner
CEO of Caring Technologies/ TalkAutism, Idaho
Ron Oberleitner and his family trusted their instincts about his son Robby. At around 15 months of age, Robby gradually started to lose skills he once had. He began avoiding eye contact, preferred to lie under his crib, and lost just about all his speech. “Over the next 22 months, we took Robby to many different doctors and specialists. They ruled out numerous disorders and diseases, but only after enduring sleepless nights, tantrums, and overall confusion in our family, it was a reluctant psychologist who finally helped us confirm Robby had autism,” said Ron.
Since Robby’s diagnosis, Ron has dedicated his career to helping other families who are also living with autism. Ron’s skill and his passion is to use medical and emerging technologies to help families get quick access to specialty care for their child with autism and to gain needed services even if specialty resources are far away.
Using his expertise in this area, he created TalkAutism.com, a communications network. Autism organizations are using this network to provide free and low cost online services such as distance learning, professional resources, and community discussions for families and professionals dealing with autism. His company now makes health record services and telehealth tools to aid families and professionals. Shortly after creating TalkAutism, Ron wanted to learn more about “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” to see how he could use the campaign’s information in his own outreach.
In 2003, Ron attended a campaign training session in New York, where he learned about the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” messages and materials he could use to educate others. “The campaign’s messages really resonated with me. Helping educate parents and health care professionals is very important to help children get that early diagnosis and intervention to help them advance their development,” said Ron.
Ron was excited about the campaign, and in 2004, he hosted an orientation about it in Boise, Idaho. For Ron, this was a chance to educate a new mix of parents, doctors, and educators on the campaign’s messages. “It was a successful session; we discussed developmental delays and distributed the campaign’s flyers, posters, and informational cards,” said Ron. To broaden his outreach, he also contacted local media outlets, trying to spread the campaign’s messages to parents in his community.
“For parents struggling with their children’s developmental challenges, this campaign can help them mobilize sooner to get the care their child needs, while helping professionals be more aware so they can detect and act on concerns earlier,” Ron said. In support of this idea, the mission of Ron’s company is to provide instruments and tools to help families and professionals increase access to services and continue encouraging awareness for “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
Ron’s advice to parents who suspect a delay is to “question your child’s development and have the confidence to act on your instincts.” Ron stresses that “much can be done when a developmental delay is detected early; the improvement can be very significant.”
If you would like to learn more about TalkAutism visit: www.talkautism.org.
For more information on how you can reach out to health professionals in your area, visit the How to Get Involved page of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” website.
- 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