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The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for autism was developed by athlete Doug Flutie, Sr. in honor of his son who has the developmental disorder. This wonderful organization focuses on three main areas: disadvantaged families, research and education. The foundation is dedicated to funding research about the causes and manifestations of childhood autistic disorder. Many disadvantaged families are unable to adequately take care of a child who has special needs. The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation is dedicated to helping those families who require help. The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation is also a communications hub that offers a plethora of information about autism and related pervasive developmental disorder. The organization also offers grants and programs to researchers, families and professionals as well.
The Autism Society of America offers various awards and scholarships each year. Scholarship winners are announced at ASA's National Conference and Exposition on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Collins Scholarship is an annual award presented to individuals who are studying autism in graduate school. The scholarship was founded by Glenna B. Collins of Chicago, Illinois. Individuals with autism can apply for an annual scholarship provided by the Autism Society of America for vocational training or post-secondary education. The ASA scholarship awards $1,000 to the individual.
Let's face it, no matter which course of treatment you choose to take for helping your loved one with autism, it's going to cost you. While health insurance may cover services such as occupational and speech therapy, other expenses such as ABA, respite care, and other expenses incurred are expensive. One means of finding extra funding is the the Home and Community-Based Services Waivers (HCBS Waivers Section 1915 (c)).
With medicaid waivers, an individual is allowed more diverse services and supports by "waiving" the need toget those same services in an institution. Medicaid is waived for provisions in order to allow long-term care services to be delivered in community settings. This program is the Medicaid alternative to providing comprehensive long-term services in institutional settings. Individuals who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder qualify for this program.
This program is controlled at the state level. The waiting lists tend to be several years long, so it is best to place your child on this list as soon as you have a diagnosis. To learn more, check out the website for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (part of the Department of Health and Human Services). The web address is http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidStWaivProgDemoPGI/05_HCBSWaivers-Section1915(c).asp .
States may offer a variety of services to consumers under an HCBS waiver program. These programs may provide a combination of both medical services (i.e. dental services, skilled nursing services) as well as non-medical services (i.e.respite care, case management, environmental modifications). Family members and friends may be providers of waiver services if they meet the specified provider alifications. Check out the state medicaid agency list at http://188.8.131.52/medicaid/states.html to find contact information for the waiver programs available in your state. Persons with an autism spectrum disorder are typically placed on similar waiver program waiting lists as individuals with mental retardation or developmental delays.
The Autism Scholarship Program is an example of a state program that offers scholarships to children with autism in the State of Ohio. The money received through the Autism Scholarship Program is used to implement a special education program for the autistic child that is not available through the child's school district. The student remains a member of his local school district. However, $20,000 dollars is transferred to a special education program outlined in the child's Individual Education Plan.
Funds for autism are typically disbursed into four major categories. Research includes but is not limited to genetic, biomedical and environmental approaches. Support funds for autism focus on treatment and family needs. Educational funds help raise autism awareness and distributes up-to-date information to families and professionals. Reform funds focus on necessary changes that need to be made in the treatment, education and care of individuals who have autism. Research into the cause and treatment of pervasive developmental disorders is one of the most important areas of funding. Finding clues as to the cause and nature of autism will hopefully lead to a greater understanding of how to treat the developmental disorder. Research includes developing medications as well as determining a biological or environmental cause for autism. Many people are dedicated to supporting current autism treatments available right now including the care and education of the individual who has the disorder. Sometimes reform is necessary as well. Some organizations are interested in updating interventions and supplying therapists and families with necessary equipment used in autism treatments. Educating families touched by autism on the possible causes, treatments available as well as alternative approaches to treating autism. Some of the funds acquired by foundations dedicated to autism is geared toward educating families and professionals while some of the funds are used to educate the general public about the developmental disorder as well.
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation offers grants to families in crisis. These grants are not given directly to the individual families. Instead, they are distributed among certain focus areas in the following regions: New Jersey, New England, New York and parts of Canada. The money is distributed to organizations that provide services for families in need in these regions. The Laurie Flutie Computer Initiative is a program that offers computers to disadvantaged families with children who have autistic disorder. The initiative also delivers computers to certain school districts as well.
The Special Needs Trust for Autism recognizes that government benefit programs do not adequately support the needs of individuals with autism. Parents can save money for their children who have pervasive developmental disorders but in order to make sure that the money actually reaches the individuals is to set up a Special Needs Trust for Autism. This trust assures that the individuals with autism receive their funds and it also assures that they can still receive public assistance as well. The Special Needs Trust for Autism is managed by an advocate assigned by the family. It is crucial that parents consult with a professional financial planner and an attorney when setting up a Special Needs Trust for Autism.