The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs a program for low-income children with autism called the Autism Services Waiver Program. This program serves children under the age of 9 who meet both the clinical and financial eligibility that includes having/obtaining MassHealth Standard Insurance. At this time the program serves approximately 385 children a year. While the program is near capacity, there is a high rate of turn- over in the program every year, so we want to have a new pool of applicants to draw from to fill open slots.
Today, I need to ask for your help in disseminating this information about the upcoming Autism Waiver Program’s Open Request Period. The Autism Division will accept new application requests for families interested in this program between the dates of October 17th, 2016 and October 31st,2016. Applications must be postmarked or emailed from a parent/guardian no earlier than October 17, 2016 and no later than October 31, 2016.
This Waiver is a Medicaid Program designed to provide services to help children with autism remain in their homes and actively participate with their families and community. This program receives partial funding from the federal government. Waiver services are supplemental to special education services provided under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.) This Program requires that each family hire a specialized clinician who creates an individually designed Behavior Plan, based on a therapy model chosen by the family, to support their child’s assessed needs. The family will also need to hire direct support staff to provide the one-to-one intensive therapy designated in the Positive Behavior Support Plan. Families in the Program also have an opportunity to choose other waiver services designed to help their children develop in areas related to behavior, social skills and communication. Additional services under the waiver include community integration activities, family training and respite.
A copy of the Autism Waiver Program Open Request Application and Open Request Family Overview is enclosed in English. The application form, family notice and related materials (in multiple languages*) will also be available on the DDS web-site at www.mass.gov/DDS and at the seven regionally based Autism Support Centers (a list of the Centers is available on the DDS website).
*Translation and Interpretation is offered free of charge to participants.
Thank you for your time, please do not hesitate to contact the Autism Division at AutismDivision@state.ma.us or your local Autism Support Center if you have any questions about this application process.
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Physical disabilities may hinder a person's ability to accomplish something, but a learning disability can often be equally frustrating, especially for children. Without any physical symptoms or changes, kids often feel insecure and embarrassed by their learning disabilities. For children who don't have any, they may also find themselves conflicted about a peer who has difficulty reading or the kid who's always getting in trouble because they can't focus. Educational books can do a lot for understanding, but it's important to have children's books that help kids understand learning disabilities so they can connect with characters just like them.
According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Georgia, a learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects one or more of the basic psychological processes pertaining to writing or reading. The LDA of Georgia also noted that most people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. They are not slow, they are not stupid, and they are not underachievers. Their disability is often called a "hidden disability" because they are just like everybody else in most ways.
But still, this can be confusing for a child to understand, and it helps to have these 11 children's books on the shelf to help them understand their learning disabilities and the disabilities of others.
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