Raising Awareness and Enhancing Access to Autism Diagnosis and Care

First Children Services


Within the first seven months, the media relations campaign resulted in:

Print & Online Placements
Radio & TV Placements
Media Mentions

“Your child has autism.”

One in 54 parents in the United States receive that diagnosis for their child according to a 2020 report by the CDC, increasing the disorder’s prevalence by 10%.

Early detection and intervention are critical in helping children on the spectrum maximize their full potential.  However, accessing diagnostic services can often be a lengthy process with long wait lists for appointments further delaying vital treatment services.

As a leading provider of behavioral health and special education services, First Children Services (FCS) is dedicated to providing a full continuum of diagnostic, assessment and treatment services. This enables FCS to deliver increased access to care and earlier detection and intervention while providing vital support systems for the whole family through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum.

To increase awareness of the comprehensive services they provide to children and families through the STRIVE Autism Care Continuum, First Children Services engaged R&J to implement a communications and messaging strategy to further strengthen its market leadership position in key geographic service areas.


Through our comprehensive brand discovery process, we uncovered several challenges facing First Children Services:

  1. The organization was going through a period of significant growth as it expanded into new markets to meet surging demand for its vital diagnostic capabilities and full continuum of care. As a result, their existing messaging no longer aligned with their brand identity or their strategic vision and growth goals.
  2. Several strategic new hires facilitated program and service enhancements that resulted in the formulation of its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum. This needed to be properly positioned and communicated to key target audiences.
  3. The pandemic exacerbated the need for comprehensive, integrated services for kids with ASD and support services for families in a completely new environment. This led to the launch of several virtual and eventually in-person programs which needed to be communicated to those that could benefit from the services while also being positioned as part of the enhanced STRIVE Autism Care Continuum.


R&J developed a communications strategy to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities uncovered during the brand discovery process to increase brand awareness and strengthen First Children Services’ market authority. Elements of the plan included:

  1. Development of a strong messaging platform that defined the organization and its key differentiators creating a cohesive and concise identity for the brand and its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum.
  2. Conducting a thought leadership audit of key executives to gain insight on each of their unique areas of expertise.
  3. Creating an earned media strategy that leveraged the messaging and insights gained from the thought leadership audit and discovery process to gain media placements in targeted growth areas to increase awareness and utilization of services while further establishing the organization’s thought leadership and market authority. Media relations tactics included trend pitching, media alerts, expert commentary and bylined articles.


This strategic PR and media relations program has successfully raised the visibility of the First Children Services leadership team as well as the unique, innovative services they offer for kids with ASD and their and families through their STRIVE Autism Care Continuum.

Coverage Highlights


The Wall Street Journal

Title: How to Motivate Teens Struggling with Remote Learning

Date: December 8, 2020



Title: First Children Services Acquires Exceptional Learning to Expand Autism Services

Date: December 31, 2020

Verywell Health Logo

Very Well Health

Title: How to Help Your Child with Autism Cope with School During a Pandemic

Date: September 29, 2020

News12 NJ

News 12 New Jersey

Title: Halloween Event for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Date: October 28, 2020

Title: Autism Friendly Trunk-or-Treat in Fanwood

Date: October 28, 2020

NJ 101.5 Logo

NJ 101.5

Title: More Youngsters Seeking Mental Health Treatment Due to COVID-19

Date: January 18, 2021

NJ Spotlight News Logo

 NJ Spotlight News

Title: Emergency Rooms See Spike in Pediatric Mental Health Visits

Date: January 8, 2021

ABC27-News Logo

ABC 27

Title: Kids Hit “Pandemic Wall” Caused by Isolation and Screen Burnout

Date: March 24, 2021


It’s a Jersey Thing Blog / Just for Moms

Title: Daylight Saving Time – How Changes in Routine Impact Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date: November 1, 2020

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