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During National Autism Awareness Month, we renew our commitment to supporting and improving the lives of individuals living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Under the Patrick Administration, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Autism Program has distinguished itself from many other national programs as the nation’s only completely self-directed program. Now in it’s fifth year,  the program is providing expanded services for consumers and their families in their own community  where they live, work and play.

The DDS Autism Program provides comprehensive support to help families play a significant role in the care of an ASD family member, from hiring staff to identifying the specific services and supports they wish to have in place for their child. These unique programs include community integration activities, respite services, and one-to-one behavioral, social, and communication-based support services.

Each DDS Autism Program participant works with a DDS Autism Clinical Manager that provides oversight and assistance to families, as well as an Autism Support Broker who helps families design and maintain their personalized in-home support plan with the goal of addressing the individual child’s needs around activities of daily living, communication and socialization skills. With DDS support, specialized therapists are hired to help carry-out the plan for an intensive period of up to three years or until the child turns nine.

After this period of intensive services, the family transitions into the DDS Step-Down Program which allows parents to take over the in-home strategies learned with support from a Behavioral Consultant. All participants involved in this program are also provided with MassHealth Standard to meet the clinical level of care necessary for the program.  The Patrick Administration has continued to increase its support of autism programs for individuals across the Commonwealth. Launched just over five years ago, the waiver began serving 80 children and now expanded to have the capacity to serve over 300 each year.

Learn more about the Department of Developmental Services supports: http://www.mass.gov/dds

Written By:


Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services


Communications Fellow

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