The state is marking Autism Awareness Month this week by highlighting the resources and services available to individuals living with disabilities and their families.
The department is responding to autism spectrum disorder’s increased prevalence by expanding access to services and working to address the need to build the capacity of professionals trained to assist individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan.
“We want all individuals with autism or intellectual disabilities to have autonomy, choice, and opportunities to lead everyday lives,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller. “Every day we need to celebrate individuals who are breaking barriers and contributing to their communities, excelling in employment, and promoting self-advocacy. I encourage everyone to be more kind to one another as we celebrate Autism awareness and acceptance. All Pennsylvanians deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”
Governor Tom Wolf’s 2019-2020 budget proposal continues to build off investments by providing an additional $15 million to serve 765 individuals on ODP’s emergency waitlist and 100 people who experience unanticipated emergencies through Community Living and Consolidated Waiver programs.
“We are committed to helping all individuals access opportunities to support their goals and dreams, but there is still more work to be done,” said Secretary Miller. “We will continue to
work closely and collaboratively to make an everyday life possible for all Pennsylvanians with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities.”
The state currently provides support and information to the estimated 30,000 Pennsylvanians with Autism Spectrum Disorder.