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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Non-Verbal Autism Services--What Happens When You Turn 21?

This is the fourth in a series of posts about non-verbal autism, in honor of Autism Awareness Month.

If you are someone with non-verbal autism, your speech therapy needs do not magically disappear when you turn 21. But who provides services when you "age-out" of school? How are they paid for?

"National, state and local policy makers have been working hard to meet the needs of the growing numbers of young children identified as having an ASD," says Paul Shattuck, assistant professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, in an article in the April ASHA Leader. "However, there has been no effort of a corresponding magnitude to plan for ensuring continuity of supports and services as these children age into adulthood."

Shattuck found that "speech-language treatment in high school was provided at the highest rate of all reported services, but fell to the lowest rate of all services after leaving high school. Medical, mental health and case management services fluctuated as well, but not nearly as widely as speech-language treatment."

It turns out that there there is no consistency among the states for services for autistic adults. The article discusses the programs available in some states. Parents, caregivers and clinicians may need to check Medicaid, private insurance carriers, and/or state health and rehabilitation departments to determine how to get and pay for these vital services.

Here is the full ASHA Leader article.
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