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Section V. Recommendations for providing services to adults with autism spectrum disorders

The Task Force has concluded that autism should be viewed as a spectrum of disorders. There are significant gaps in services for adults with spectrum disorders which are exacerbated by the piecemeal approach taken toward service delivery with each agency focusing only on their specific service delivery area. Having a comprehensive and coordinated approach to autism services would insure that gaps and areas of weakness are identified and addressed, assuring that services are not duplicated by various agencies and therefore improving the cost effectiveness of services that are offered.

Delaware cannot have an efficiently and effectively operated system on a piecemeal basis. There are philosophical, training, professional expertise, service coordination and service delivery model issues that must be addressed.

The State is in a unique situation because its combination of its statewide education program, university programs and adult services. This combination presents an opportunity to create a national model of services and supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders. All partners can benefit by providing improved collaborations across the state agency and provider communities, educational systems, and the university to produce tax paying citizens, attract students and professionals, and support high quality services to meet the needs of adults with autism spectrum disorders.    

1. State Office on Autism

The Task Force recommends that the State of Delaware establish an Office of Autism within the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services to undertake a range of responsibilities across the lifespan and to develop services for adults with autism in Delaware.

This Office would be administered by DDDS with the following functions:

a)  Administrative functions:

Quality assurance, program evaluation, funding, general oversight and coordination of adult autism services  

Collect and maintain data relevant to service trends and needs

Create periodic reports regarding adult services for persons with autism in Delaware

Advocate and support for the establishment of “best practice” services and programs to meet the needs of individuals with autism and their families

Establish communications with similar state levels around the United States and, where possible and relevant, seek to collaborate with those other offices and agencies in order to seek cost effective solutions for Delaware.

b)  Information/Referral services by county including, but not limited to:

Adult service provider programs and options

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