process is in place.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services is the primary division that serves adults with autism. Vocational Rehabilitation provides some vocational services to individuals with autism, typically to those with Asperger Disorder. Other Divisions may provide limited services for individuals with autism around secondary and co-morbid conditions.
(3)Delaware is a small state, with only three counties. The State agency and provider systems know each other well and generally have developed collaborative working relationships that can be very creative and flexible.
(4)While education for children with classic autism is well entrenched throughout the State and adult services for this group are in place in New Castle County, there are few services for other individuals on the autism spectrum. When the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation first attempted to serve adults with Asperger’s Disorder in 2004, they were unable to find a provider agency. The Department of Education did not identify Asperger’s Disorder and PDD-NOS as part of the definition of autism until 2005/2006. During the course of the work of this Task Force, the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services changed their eligibility criteria to include Asperger’s Disorder; however, they eliminated the category of individuals with PDD-NOS and they do not provide services to individuals with related disorders such as non-verbal learning disabilities.
In summary, Delaware has a foundation of educational and adult services for individuals with classic autism. There is no similar history for other individuals with spectrum disorders unless co-morbid conditions such as cognitive disability, mental health or a physical disability offer the gateway to services. However, there has been progress from both education and adult services to recognize the service gaps and needs of individuals with other disorders on the autism spectrum. The development of this Task Force was based on parental input and advocacy that their adult children with high functioning autism, Asperger, and other related disorders require services to function. The Task Force recommendations should assist the State in developing comprehensive services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder who currently are not receiving services.
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