Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families often confront a variety of barriers when trying to access care and treatment in their homes and communities, including limitations on insurance coverage, lack of qualified providers or responsible state agencies, and the absence of medically necessary services outside of restrictive educational and/or institutional treatment settings. Increasing prevalence rates and continued improvements in the early identification of ASD have made access to evidenced-based services and supports an even more pressing issue around the country – one which demands a comprehensive and systemic response.
CPR regularly consults national Medicaid experts and is monitoring the development of litigation concerning access to services for youth with autism. The Center also provides technical assistance in this area, including research and writing on the nature and prevalence of ASD, the possible implications of changing DSM criteria, and the service systems which might be employed to meet the needs of autistic youth and their families in the community. Read the following three fact sheets on ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Changes in the DSM 5 , Autism Spectrum Disorders: Treatment Methodology Debates, and Meeting the Needs of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Survey of Service Delivery Systems.
There are a wide variety of public and private benefits available to youth with ASD, administered and funded through a complex network of state and federal delivery systems. The Center is developing new initiatives to ensure that youth with ASD are not needlessly institutionalized or otherwise denied access to needed support services delivered in accordance with child and family-centered principles and clinical best practices.
In order to better understand the range of services and supports available to youth with autism, the Center partnered with Northeastern University School of Law’s Social Justice Program to conduct a national mapping project of community services for autistic youth. It is hoped the detailed map generated by this project, in conjunction with other resources referenced here, will encourage disability rights organizations to critically examine the adequacy of services in their state, and support the development of other systemic initiatives around the country. Read more about the mapping project here.