SD4 - Needs of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Who Are Transitioning from Secondary Schools (SJR 330 - 2013)

Executive Summary:

The associated symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affect multiple areas of an individual's life across his/her lifetime, including education/training, employment, housing, and health care. Studies have shown that better interventions and supports across the lifespan can help persons with ASD live more independently.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees services for persons with ASD through age 21 if he/she is eligible for special education services. However, after age 21, a person with ASD ages out of the entitlement system and must voluntarily seek out services and meet various eligibility requirements. Transition planning starts at age 14 in Virginia but families, ASD advocates, and State representatives report successful transition planning varies depending on the geographic location of the individual, the school division, and the institutional knowledge of persons included on the transition team.

The primary sources of support for adults with ASD include Medicaid waivers for community-based services and the employment assistance provided through the Department for Aging and Rehabilitation Services (DARS). With enrollment caps and waiting lists, Medicaid waivers do not currently provide the necessary support for all adults in need and case management services are only available for adults receiving waivers or DARS-supported services. However, improvements in providing access to affordable and accessible housing are being undertaken by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services through waiver reform and implementation of the settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice.

Eight policy options were presented for consideration and JCHC members voted to take no action.