of accessing state services, adults must meet eligibility criteria, which are based on diagnosis and the existence of functional deficits. Eligibility criteria for specific agencies are defined in terms of that agency’s program service and focus (i.e. work, education, adaptive behavior, etc).
Diagnosis of disorders within ASD or PDD should be made using the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. This criterion is widely used within the health care community and will help promote improved consistency and accuracy in the diagnostic process.
Service agency eligibility includes both a diagnostic criteria and functional impairment criteria. An emphasis should be placed on a functional impairment criteria based on adaptive behavior which provides a fairly broad definition consistent with the communication and social skill deficits seen in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services is best positioned to continue to be the primary state service provider for adults with autism spectrum disorder. However, they should accept as eligible a broader range of individuals who meet the functional limitations of diagnostic criteria rather than the more narrow criteria of autism or Asperger Syndrome. Specifically, this should include PDD-NOS and other related disabilities with the characteristic core deficits.
The definition of autism spectrum disorders should be re-visited on a regular basis, such as every three years, to ensure that practices are keeping up with research and changing trends.
5.Other state service agencies that are currently involved in providing related services to this population (co-morbidity services, work related services, etc.) should continue to provide these services and assure that these services are available to all individuals on the autism spectrum, whatever their functional level. Other state service agencies should review and add as necessary service eligibility criteria for their services focus for people with autism spectrum disorders.
6.Diagnoses should be made with the aid of standardized instruments and diagnostic tools designed to identify individuals with autism spectrum disorders by qualified and licensed professionals. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Children with Disabilities (2001)
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