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Staff is not adequately paid.

The ICAP funding formula allows an hourly wage of $10.50 based on 2005 wage rates, yet expects that direct support staff will have the skills to work with individuals with very specialized and unique needs. It’s difficult to hire and retain qualified staff at these rates.

With the economic downturn, it is likely that only individuals eligible for Medicaid will receive services. There must also be state funding for those who are not eligible for Medicaid

Capacity Findings

There is very little expertise to address the needs of individuals of any age with high functioning autism, Asperger Disorder, PDD-NOS or other related disability within the educational or the professional community in Delaware. Expertise tends to emerge when there is a market for services. In Delaware, there has been no market for this population for these reasons:

1.There has been no funding from state agencies for this group at any age.

Many individuals on the spectrum do not meet eligibility criteria of most agencies.

Children with AS are not typically diagnosed until they are school aged or at least, after the age of eligibility for Child Development Watch programs has passed.

Individuals on the spectrum often have affiliated mental health issues; however, the mental health system has not recognized these disabilities. Thus, services have not been nurtured or even sought until recently.

Even under the employment oriented VR system which does provide services, they are typically purchased within the community for assessment, placement, training and follow-up. The number of individuals served has not justified the investment in developing training and services for providers.

Further, because there is little professional expertise on spectrum disorders, many individuals enter adult life without an appropriate diagnosis.

Recommendations      

1)

Service systems must be re-organized to provide collaborative and appropriate services for individuals all along the autism spectrum including high functioning autism, Asperger’s Disorder, PDD-NOS, and related conditions.

2)

Funding for the unmet service needs (i.e. specific therapies, communication, social, behavioral/psychiatric treatment, employment/vocational, etc) needs to be recognized

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