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Advocates Discuss Changes in Autism Services

Parents look to advocate for their children

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Greenwich, CT | Added on October 23, 2013 At 03:00 AM

Members of the State Department of Developmental Services discussed the latest changes in regulations for autistic children and adults at a free seminar at Christ Church in Greenwich Monday night.

The presentation, hosted by Friends of Autistic People (FAP), touched on a variety of subjects within Autism Spectrum Services including criteria that determine eligibility for The Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBS), which provides needed community based programs designed to enable individuals to leave or prevent them from being placed in an institution.  

The Federal Government reimburses Connecticut 50 percent of the cost of services and supports people enrolled in the waiver. Although the state of Connecticut has one of the largest DDS budgets, services are not assured to everyone.

"We only have a certain amount of funds allocated to our agency each year and we have to spread that money to as many people as we possibly can," said Director of Family Support Strategies and Advocacy Robin Wood. "And we don't get funding for new people except for those with graduate services. The only funds we have available are what's called recycled services, so people who no longer use the money or who pass away, that's the only money we have available for new services at the moment right now." 

"We need to allocate that money better and I think they should start with the training the staff. The people who work in these group homes train them and empower them and make them feel better about how they are teaching, how they actually have a valuable role. They're not just babysitters."  

Parents say their ability to advocate for their sons and daughters at an early age was crucial and proved more beneficial than institutions.  

"I'm fully expecting to be a part of my son's life all through his life," said Jim Enderle Waterford Resident. "Right now we're looking at residential programs for him because he has a desire to live independently, but I also think it's important for parents to expect to be a part of their life and to manage the program. There's ways of working in the system to get what he needs but I also have to be involved." 

"Things that families think is that they can only have their child work up to 20 hours or their lose their social security benefits and that's no longer true, that there's been a lot of things put in place so that people can make more money, their social security check may go down but their actual income and assets go up."  

For more information on the State Department of Developmental Services visit www.ct.gov/dds.

 


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