Expansion of Autism Waiver in Maryland Could Help Thousands

ASD Maryland

In the United States, the average rate of autism is 1 in 68 children. However, in Maryland, the rate is about 1 in 60 children.

The state has a program which provides assistance to families and children with Autism called the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or simply “The Autism Waiver.” The waiver provides assistance and extra services that might not be available to families with children with autism, especially in terms of early intervention programs.

Unfortunately, because of the higher rate of autism in Maryland, the waiver is in high demand and cannot be given to everyone who requests it. The waiver is given to 1000 children every year, yet there are over 3800 children on the waitlist. Some families say that they could be on the waitlist for over five years. This means that if a child is put on the waitlist at five years old, they might not be helped until adolescence, which is far too late for early intervention therapies to be effective.

The autism waiver gives families the opportunity to receive 30 hours a week of specified one-on-one services. This also allows the parents to have some freedom outside of family and work, and spend some time alone.  The program sends professionals who help the children improve their lives at home. 

In 2012, the Maryland Commission on Autism suggested that state funding be increased so that 100 new slots are available each year. Along with that, Maryland’s Medicaid program agreed with the commission’s idea too. This plan would help to serve more and more families who are often left on the waitlist. Creating this plan would also show all families and children with autism that they matter, and that actions are being taken to better their futures and lives.

Written By Sejal Sheth

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Advocacy, Autism America, Autism Awareness, Autism Causes, Autism Education and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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