The Ugly Side of the Autism Waiver Registry
I shared my son’s recent diagnosis of Autism through Child Find. One of the things they recommended was getting his name added to the Autism Waiver Registry. I was not familiar with the registry at all or what kind of services it provides so I needed to so some research. So the first thing was finding out exactly what the registry was. I headed online and found a link to a PDF document that listed a number to call and what I believe is the most disheartening thing I have read since researching about Autism services in Baltimore County.
The first thing stated on the sheet about the registry is that they are not currently accepting new members. Yes that means my son is on a wait-list for services. This automatically made me a little sad because what’s the point in offering a service that you really can’t access. Adding his name to the registry was very easy, I just called 1-866-417-3480. I let them know who referred me, and the registry I was calling to be placed on. I gave them some basic information and I was informed to call back in about a week to find out where my son is on the registry. Here’s the thing about the registry. They are not taking applications, so my just is just on a wait list to receive an application. Even when he does apply it doesn’t guarantee he will be accepted. Here’s the ugly side of the Autism Waiver Registry. I’ll share with you using numbers.
- Each year the state of Maryland has 900 slots statewide for services. Once you are on the waiver you hold that slot until your 21st birthday.
- According to a study done in 2008 there are 7510 autistic students in the state of Maryland. The study also said that there is an 18% increase in students diagnosed with Autism each year. I can only imagine how many more students there are now with Autism in the state of Maryland but the number of slots have not increased since 2004. The program was
- This means that about 12% of students could receive services if they all asked to be added to the waiver registry.
So as you can see from the numbers there is a great need but very limited amount services available. In case you’re wondering what kind of services you can use the waiver for, here’s a list of approved services.
- Respite Care
- Environmental Accessibility Adaptations
- Family Training
- Residential Habilitation
- Intensive Individual Support Services
- Therapeutic Integration
- Adult Life Planning
Each year in July people on a waiver have to option of continuing or being removed. When someone is removed the next person on the top of the wait-list gets the opportunity to apply if they are still interested. The waiver serves people with Autism between the ages of 1 and 21. I haven’t called back to find out J.B.’s position on the registry but writing this post makes me want to check. I’ll be sure to update when I do. If you are a parent with an Autistic child have you ever applied or asked to be added to a waiver registry?