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Communication competency opens doors to greater community involvement. There are few speech therapists or others who know how to support the communication needs of individuals with autism—a problem for schools as well as with adults. Delaware does not currently have a professional training program for speech therapists which impacts all disability groups who need assistance

2.Physical, Sensory and Occupational therapy

Delaware requires more therapists in general, and more therapists with experience with autism and the sensory needs of autistic individuals. At a time when the need for sensory integration is more widely recognized, the knowledge and experience required to provide these therapies and supports is available primarily in Adult Special Populations (ASP), and those services are not as available as they once were.

3.Behavioral Supports

Behavioral specialists who work with adults often do not have the training or experience required to address the needs of adults with autism. Like sensory needs, behavioral support services are primarily available through Adult Special Populations and are paid out of State Medicaid funds, not the federal waiver. With the new limits to Adult Special Populations, it is unclear how behavioral supports will be provided to adults who need them across the spectrum.

4.Medical Services

Few physicians, psychiatrists or psychologists are knowledgeable or comfortable serving adults with autism.

Service Findings

1.Delaware has few services for individuals who function in the middle or higher ranges of the spectrum.

Adults who do not have severe behavioral challenges are typically supported through programs designed for individuals with cognitive disabilities. These adults do not get the specialized services they need in terms of communication, behavioral supports, employment, or housing unless they are in Adult Special Populations (ASP) and even those services have been watered down at the provider level to serve more individuals whether or not they meet the ASP criteria.

2.Delaware has few state or community services in place for adults with Asperger’s Disorder, PDD-NOS, non-verbal learning disabilities or other related disorders. There is little cross agency collaboration to provide coordinated services to individuals across the spectrum.

The DDDS added Asperger’s Disorder to its eligibility criteria to address a part of the spectrum in the fall of 2007. At the same time, they took out PDD-NOS.

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