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Section III.Review of Services of Other States

The Task Force reviewed services in the surrounding states in depth, and captured a bird’s eye view of services and needs around the country. Nationally there are few identified services for adults with autism spectrum disorders. Typically, when services are provided to adults with autism, eligibility requires that the individual also have a cognitive disability, meaning an IQ under 70.

Adults who are eligible for services are served within the traditional MR/DD (mental retardation and developmental disabilities) system with services designed for individuals with cognitive disabilities. There are few special supports for adults with any level of autism around the nation. When they are available, there may only be one or two programs within an entire state so services are not close to home.

A handful of states have a Medicaid Waiver for children with autism. Pennsylvania has recently been the first state to receive a waiver for adults. When looking at other states, it should be noted that many states provide services at the county level, so service availability may vary by county. The combination of DD services typically provided across states may include:

Residential services (group homes, supported living, congregate living, foster care)

Supported employment/job coaching/crews

Assistive technology/environmental modifications


Day habitation programs/facility based programs (sheltered work)

Family support, education and training

Pre-vocational, vocational training/placement/short term follow-up/long term follow-up

Independent living

Review of Surrounding States

Pennsylvania released its own Autism Task Force Report within the past two years. As a result of the report’s recommendations, Pennsylvania established and funded a Bureau of Autism Services. That Bureau has made great progress in a very short period of time, resulting in the first Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver for Adults with Autism in the nation. The diagnosis included in their waiver application includes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as defined in the DSM IV which corresponds to ICD-9 codes 299.00 Autistic Disorder; 299.10 Childhood Disintegrative Disorder; 299.80 Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified; Asperger’s Disorder; and Rett’s Disorder as determined by a licensed psychologist or physician. This definition is broader than the definitions accepted in Delaware for eligibility for adult services.

Pennsylvania does not yet have a statewide system of supports for adults with autism in place. In fact, by law the Mental Health (MH) and Mental Retardation (MR)

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