Below is a list of autism services and supports which is expected persons living with autism will need throughout their lifetime.
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General Standards of Care for Individuals with Autism Throughout the Lifespan
It is a generally accepted fact that autism will affect an individual with the syndrome throughout his or her life. Individuals with more serious symptom expression will require highly specialized services, while those with milder symptom expression may require fewer supports.
There is consensus amongst professionals that the earlier one can identify autism and begin intervention, the better the prognosis for that child throughout the course of his or her life. Additionally, it is a generally accepted premise that individualized, person-centered assessment and planning is highly critical when it comes to effective programming for individuals with autism and the promotion of their maximum quality of life and active participation in the community. Finally, it is imperative to recognize the unique learning style that each individual with autism presents. As autism is a spectrum disability, there is a full range of capability and disability, with no two individuals requiring identical service. Therefore individualized service plans are critical for success.
With this in mind, the Panel of Professional Advisors strongly supports the following standards of care:
- Infant and toddler services must be a high priority if children with autism are to achieve the best prognosis for success in life.
- Educational services from 3 to 21 must be secured for 12 months, as well as the following:
- Respite services for families
- Crisis intervention services, as needed
- Residential services, as needed
- Inclusive parental training / home involvement
- Social / recreational services
- Post-educational year services must be available to individuals with autism on a 12 month basis including:
- Community Living Opportunities
- Natural homes with supports
- Community group homes
- Supported apartments
- Host family homes
- Foster care homes
- Social/recreational services
- Secure employment
- Supported employment
- Competitive employment
- Continuing care services. There will be some individuals who, due to physical, health, cognitive, and/or behavioral challenges, may require a more secure environment.
- Such environments must be capable of person-centered planning, and must be dynamic in nature; that is, enabling an individual to continue to develop skills. These services would be afforded individuals based upon age (i.e., geriatric services), and/or the aforementioned physical, health, cognitive, behavioral, or mental health challenges the person presents.
In conclusion, the Panel of Professional Advisors recommends that there be a greater emphasis on infant and toddler services than currently exists, as well as a greater emphasis on post-educational services and continuing care services. Such services must be offered with the same rights for children established under the IDEA, i.e., the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), and must be considered, for adults, the right to free and appropriate individualized resources (FAIR).
Submitted to the Board of the Autism Society of America
By the Panel of Professional Advisors
© Copyright 2004, Autism Society of America.
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