Programmatic Framework Recommendations
Offering recommendations for an initial program for children and youth with ASD was by far the most difficult task the Consortium has had to date. Due to the fiscal restraints placed on the proposed program and the statewide budget deficit, the Consortium was faced with the dismal reality that the initial program could serve only a fraction of the children in need. This painful reality placed the Consortium in the unenviable position of making difficult choices on determining which children were most at risk and yet most likely to progress given limited treatment options. The process of developing the recommendations for the framework for the ASD program, served to strengthen the resolve of the Consortium to work with SIAC and its member agencies in creating cost effective, strength based services that will be accessible in every region of the state for all children with ASD and their families.
Given the fiscal restraints, the Consortium has developed a framework for a program for children and youth with ASD. It is estimated that there are approximately 7000 individuals in Kentucky with ASD and the initial program will only serve a portion of those. However, the Consortium is dedicated to working with agencies and legislatures to find alternative ways to serve these individuals and when appropriate to advocate for increased funding for this vulnerable population.
To determine which children should be served, the Consortium began by determining the highest child specific and environmental risk factors. Through a process of prioritization, the Consortium narrowed the factors down to the top seven for each category. The top seven child specific risk factors for children with ASD include:
Being unaware of danger
Lack of appropriate communication skills
Lack of self-help skills
Abuse/neglect and victimization
The top seven environmental risk factors for children with ASD include:
Ineffective collaboration among systems that provide services
Lack of professionals trained in ASD
Lack of respite for caregivers and families
Lack of appropriate supports for transition from childhood to adulthood