Legislative Task Force on Autism
Service Provider Survey
A subcommittee of Legislative Task Force developed a brief survey to determine if there are services for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Delaware and where they are. The survey was sent through the DelARF network to adult provider agencies in both the DD and the mental health field, the National Association of Social Workers, the Psychological Association, and to 175 physicians who practice family practice or internal medicine, or who are specialists such as neurology or gastroenterology. Additionally, we made phone calls and sent the survey to agencies that are not in DelARF and to those we know offer some type of service to individuals with autism but who did not respond initially. In total, at least 300 surveys were distributed. The response was minimal, with 30 respondents to date.
Of the 30 respondents, three were state agencies; nine were service providers through either DDDS or DVR; six were physicians/health clinics, four were children’s services, one was an audiologist, six were psychology, counseling or therapeutic services, and one was an educational diagnostic and treatment service with a psychologist who advised she did her dissertation on autism spectrum disorders.
Who responded to the survey and what services do they offer?
The Delaware Divisions of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation all responded. Of the three state agencies, DDDS offers housing, vocational, recreational and social skills services to adults who meet their eligibility criteria – typically those with full scale autism; DVR offers vocational services to adults with high functioning autism and Asperger and to others who are capable of competitive or supported employment, and DSAMH doesn’t offer any specific service to this group, although they believe that they may be serving some individuals who have AS along with a severe mental illness. DVR and DDDS both have state and federal funding, and typically purchase services that they offer from community providers.
Of the nine DDDS provider agencies that responded, one was a residential program that is considering providing services to this population. The rest were day or vocational programs including the major program supporting adults with autism. Four stated that they provide vocational or employment services within their general program with no specialized supports; one provides recreation in the form of a summer camp for children and adults with autism and “may” serve some adults with autism in other programs, and a second provider sponsors recreation in the form of the People First group of self-advocates that includes adults with autism. One provides a full range of