Managing Autistic Behaviors in Adults

When it comes to managing autistic behaviors in adults, there are various financial support options and government assistance programs available to provide assistance and resources. These can help individuals and their families navigate the challenges associated with autism and ensure access to necessary services and support.

Financial Support Options

To alleviate the financial burden that often comes with managing autism, there are several options available to families. These options can help cover the costs associated with therapies, interventions, and other supports. Here are a few key ones:

Government Assistance Programs

Government assistance programs play a crucial role in supporting individuals with autism and their families. These programs provide access to various services and supports. Here are a few key programs to consider:

These financial support options and government assistance programs can help alleviate the financial strain of managing autism and ensure access to necessary services. It's important to research and explore these options to determine eligibility and take advantage of the available resources. Consulting with financial advisors and professionals specializing in autism can also provide valuable guidance in navigating these programs. Remember, each program may have specific eligibility criteria and requirements, so it's essential to review the details and seek assistance if needed.

Accessing Autism Services

When it comes to accessing autism services, there are various programs and resources available to support individuals and their families. This section explores three key avenues for accessing autism services: Medicaid waivers, ABLE accounts, and the TRICARE Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration (ACD) program.

Medicaid Waivers

One important avenue for accessing autism services is through Medicaid waivers. These waivers are offered by most states and provide support services and care for individuals with developmental disabilities, aiming to keep them at home or in the community instead of in institutional settings. Through these waivers, families may access a range of services, including behavioral therapies, respite care, and assistive technology.

To determine eligibility for Medicaid waivers, families should contact their state's Medicaid agency or visit their website for specific requirements and application processes. It's important to note that eligibility criteria and available services may vary by state.

ABLE Accounts

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 established ABLE accounts, which allow families of individuals with disabilities to save for long-term expenses without losing eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). ABLE accounts provide individuals with disabilities and their families a way to save and invest funds for qualified disability expenses, such as education, housing, transportation, and healthcare.

These tax-advantaged accounts can be used to supplement other forms of support, including Medicaid waivers. ABLE accounts are managed at the state level, so families should research their state's specific ABLE program to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to open an account.


For military families, the TRICARE Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration (ACD) program provides coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) services targeting the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This program is available to eligible dependents of active duty service members.

To qualify for the ACD, children diagnosed with ASD must enroll in the service branch’s Exceptional Family Member Program and in the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO). The ACD covers ABA services, which can be crucial in supporting individuals with ASD and their families.

It's important to note that ABA services overseas are available in very few locations and are only authorized for the sole provider model. Tiered ABA services aren't authorized overseas, except in U.S. territories. Individuals seeking ABA services overseas should contact the regional call center for guidance.

By exploring these programs and resources, families can navigate the healthcare system and access the necessary autism services for their loved ones. It's recommended to reach out to the respective programs and agencies for detailed information on eligibility, services, and application processes.

When it comes to managing autism and accessing necessary services, navigating the healthcare system can be challenging. Two important aspects to consider are diagnosis and treatment, as well as special education eligibility.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In the medical system, a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is typically made by a healthcare professional experienced in assessing developmental disorders. The diagnosis alone may warrant treatment within the medical model, which often includes therapeutic interventions such as behavior therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, individual counseling, or medication interventions.

When seeking a diagnosis, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider who specializes in autism or developmental disorders. They will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which may involve interviews, observations, and assessments. The diagnostic process helps to identify the specific needs and challenges of the individual, allowing for targeted treatment approaches.

Once a diagnosis is made, it is essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an individualized treatment plan. This plan may include a combination of therapies and interventions tailored to the unique needs of the individual. Regular monitoring and adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary as the individual's needs evolve over time.

Special Education Eligibility

Obtaining special education services for a child with autism requires a separate process from medical diagnosis. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), eligibility for special education services is determined by an educational determination of a disability. This determination is made by a team of professionals and parents, who assess if the student qualifies for services under IDEA and if they have at least one of the 14 specified disabilities, including autism [3].

It is important to note that the definition of autism for educational eligibility purposes may vary from state to state. Some states follow the medical definition found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), while others have their own definitions. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific criteria used in your state, as some states may exclude certain autism diagnoses like Asperger's Disorder or PDD-NOS from the autism category [3].

To determine eligibility for special education services, a team of professionals and parents will assess the individual's needs and determine if they require specialized educational placements, behavior therapy, speech therapy, or other supports. This process involves developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) tailored to the individual's unique needs and goals. Regular meetings and evaluations are conducted to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the services provided.

By understanding the different pathways for diagnosis and treatment within the medical system and the eligibility process for special education services, parents can effectively navigate the healthcare system to access the appropriate support and interventions for their child with autism. Collaboration with healthcare professionals, educators, and support organizations can provide valuable guidance and resources throughout this journey.

Service Availability Challenges

When it comes to accessing autism services, there are several challenges that individuals and families may encounter. Two significant challenges in particular are rural vs. urban disparities and specialist shortages.

Rural vs. Urban Disparities

Families living in rural areas often face greater difficulties in accessing care for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to those in urban areas. One key factor contributing to this disparity is the shortage of specialists in rural communities. According to a study published in the NCBI, the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 people varies significantly across different regions in the United States. For example, while the District of Columbia has approximately 60 child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 people, states like Idaho, which includes many rural communities, only have around 5 child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 people.

This shortage of specialists in rural areas leads to limited service availability, longer wait times for diagnosis and treatment, and increased clinician burnout. Families living in rural communities may need to travel long distances to access specialized care, which can be a significant barrier in obtaining the necessary support for their loved ones with autism.

Specialist Shortages

Accessing autism services can also be challenging due to a shortage of specialists who have the necessary knowledge and training in ASD. A study mentioned in the NCBI highlights that individuals with ASD, their families, and even physicians have reported a lack of specialized knowledge among healthcare providers when it comes to screening, diagnosing, and referring individuals with ASD. This knowledge gap can hinder timely and accurate diagnosis, leading to delays in accessing appropriate interventions and therapies.

The shortage of specialists who are well-versed in ASD can further exacerbate the disparities in service availability and quality. It is essential for healthcare systems to address this issue by providing comprehensive training and education to healthcare professionals, enabling them to effectively identify and support individuals with autism.

By recognizing and addressing the challenges related to service availability, both in terms of rural vs. urban disparities and specialist shortages, steps can be taken to improve access to quality care for individuals with autism. This includes the development of innovative telehealth solutions, increased funding for specialized training programs, and the establishment of collaborative networks between urban and rural healthcare providers to ensure equitable access to services for all individuals with autism, regardless of their geographical location.

Overcoming Stigma and Barriers

Navigating the healthcare system for autism services can be challenging, especially when stigma and barriers come into play. Overcoming these obstacles requires awareness, advocacy, and understanding the cultural and social impacts associated with autism.

Awareness and Advocacy

Building awareness and advocating for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is crucial in ensuring access to appropriate healthcare services. When individuals and their families are knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of ASD and the available care options, they are more likely to seek early intervention and advocate for necessary healthcare services. However, awareness can be influenced by situational and social factors. Reduced awareness of ASD and related services is more common among groups with lower socioeconomic status, limited education, and limited access to healthcare professionals, particularly those living in rural areas.

To overcome this barrier, organizations, healthcare providers, and community leaders can work together to increase awareness through educational campaigns, workshops, and support groups. Providing accessible and culturally sensitive information can help ensure that individuals and families from all backgrounds have the knowledge they need to navigate the healthcare system effectively.

Cultural and Social Impacts

Stigma surrounding autism can contribute to feelings of rejection and isolation among parents of autistic children and can prevent individuals with ASD from engaging with the healthcare system at all stages of life. Unfortunately, the impacts of stigma on access to diagnosis and treatment services are often more pronounced for racial and ethnic minorities, including immigrants [4].

To address these cultural and social impacts, it is important to promote inclusivity and understanding within healthcare settings. Healthcare providers should receive training on cultural competence to ensure that they can effectively communicate and provide appropriate care to individuals and families from diverse backgrounds. By creating an environment free from judgment and discrimination, individuals with autism and their families will feel more comfortable seeking and receiving the necessary healthcare services.

By raising awareness, advocating for change, and promoting cultural understanding, we can work towards overcoming stigma and barriers that hinder access to healthcare services for individuals with autism. Together, we can create a more inclusive healthcare system that supports the needs of individuals with autism and their families.