Lifespan Services and Supports
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that, in most cases, has an impact across a person’s lifespan. The types and amounts of services an autistic individual may need varies based on the characteristics of each person. Some people are identified as young children through the early identification and intervention service system and may use services throughout their school years, or across the lifespan if needed. Other people are diagnosed later in life and may need fewer services overall or adult services focused on employment and supports for community-based living, financial management, and medical care, for example. Some services are only aimed at the childhood portion of the lifespan (such as early intervention services), while others provide supports across the lifespan (such as state Developmental Disability services), while still others primarily serve transition-age adolescents and adults (such as Vocational Rehabilitation services).
State DD Services
State DD Services are provided to people who meet state criteria for Developmental Disability services. These services are available across a person’s life but look very different depending on an individual’s “person-centered” needs. Some people may only receive case management or service coordination to provide information and referrals, while others receive extensive services (typically funded via Medicaid Home and Community Based Services – or HCBS - Waivers) to help them maintain their ability to live in the community and avoid institutionalization.
Service Coordination, also called case management, helps people get connected to services, resources, and support. General service coordination provides intake, referral, and linkage to general as well as specialized services, transportation, planning, and service-related problem solving.
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)
Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) allow people who qualify for a Medicaid waiver to get help and support in their own home or community rather than institutions. These programs serve many diverse groups, such as people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and/or mental illnesses. HCBS waivers might fund the following services, for example.
- Housing and residential supports: Housing supports may include services that can assist people with finding, maintaining, or changing housing, as well as repairs or adaptations to a person’s home. Residential supports are community-based services that provide one-on-one supports, skills training and direction to assist people to remain vital members of their community. The supports address the current needs of the person and allows for improvement in many of the areas necessary to live successfully in the community. The supports are provided in the person’s home to increase successful learning outcomes and ensure an independent living situation.
- Employment supports: These supports are offered to people who need assistance helping them realize their goals of getting and maintaining employment in their community
- Personal assistance and home health: Personal assistance otherwise known as homecare is health care or supportive care provided by a professional caregiver in someone’s home where they are living, as opposed to care provided in group settings like clinics or nursing homes. Services include hygiene support, housekeeping, transportation management, meal prep, prescription pick up, and more.
Vocational rehabilitation helps people with disabilities get and keep employment. Some of these services include job-related assessments and evaluation, training, skill acquisition, refresher courses, on-the-job training, career counseling, employment searches, and consulting with potential or existing employers for job accommodations and modifications.