Demonstrate unique attention difficulties such as only attending to a limited number of components in an instruction
Display a deficit in imaginative play and peer interactions
Demonstrate difficulties with abstract thinking
Identified service needs
Having agreed upon a definition for children and youth with ASD and considered the commonalties, the Consortium began reviewing the current service delivery system and identifying the most pressing service gaps and needs. The identified needs can be categorized into eight broad areas.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education December 1, 2001 child count of children with disabilities, there were 1,205 children identified as having autism. However, that count only represents the children with autism and does not reflect children with one of the other disorders under the spectrum such as developmental delay, multiple disabilities or those who are home schooled. Based on population and incidence rates it is estimated that there may be as many as 7,000 persons in Kentucky with ASD. The IMPACT Plus program in FY 02 served approximately 148 children with ASD. Given the disparity between the potential number of individuals to be served and the funding to be made available, it is difficult to see how a viable program can be made available that adequately addresses the needs of the individuals.
There are very few providers in Kentucky currently providing services for children with ASD who have had more than a cursory workshop on autism. There are even fewer providers who understand the concept of ASD as a spectrum of disorders. Appropriate training to increase their knowledge is limited by the availability of funding. Furthermore, the Consortium recognizes a great need to establish a more intensive outreach training network for all urban and rural areas of Kentucky. While Kentucky does have an autism-training center, funding is limited which limits the number of teams that can receive training. The Consortium is most concerned that currently there are no requirements for providers to obtain specific training in order to provide services to children and youth with ASD by either Medicaid or private insurance companies.