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Volume 97

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Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…

Autism Treatment and Adults –
Finding Services after Age 18

Recently I received a question from a reader…

I’m 25 almost 26 with Asperger’s. I was diagnosed at age 16 and wasn’t able to get the right help that was needed. Is there still even a chance to get help at my age?

The fact that you were diagnosed before the age of a18 is helpful.  If someone has NEVER been diagnosed before the age of 18, the obvious disadvantage is that they miss out on therapies and other services they could have accessed through the IEP (Individualized Education Program) and, for people with more severe autism, they are not able to access Regional Center services (California only)  if they are diagnosed after 18. 

Changes in Law Helps those with Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism

Starting in July, 2012, in California, the law goes into effect that insurance companies MUST cover “behavioral health treatment” for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  A similar law has gone into effect in many other states.  You have not indicated where you live or exactly what type of “help” you want, but I think the best bet for behavioral or psychological services would be through insurance coverage. 

Insurance Coverage and Autism

Many policies allow families to continue to cover a child up to the age of 26 years, so this is another possible resource before your birthday.  If you want help with accessing speech, physical, or occupational therapy, you may have some luck checking with a local university that is training students to become physical or occupational or speech therapists.  Many universities offer open “labs” or otherwise will work free of charge with people who volunteer to be the recipient of the student’s services. 

According to Dr. Kristy DeZonia of TERI Inc., in Oceanside, CA “I’ve actually had some of the best assessments ever for my students and adults through this method.” 

Your Asperger’s syndrome is a disability diagnosis and as such should qualify you to take advantage of vocational rehabilitation supports for employment or employment training. Realize that vocational rehabilitation will not help you much with typical job related problems for folks with Asperger’s syndrome such as social/interpersonal problems on the job.  These are better addressed through psychological services covered by insurance.  

If you receive SSI disability money, you may possibly be able to access residential supports (such as board and care facilities).    Finally, I would strongly recommend that you connect with an Asperger’s support group.  These people, more than anyone, should know where the best help is located.  For help in finding these groups, see Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome Support.

For more information to help adults with Asperger’s syndrome and high function autism see the book Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger’s Syndrome.

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