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Stranger Danger

Part of teaching children about safety includes teaching them about the potential danger of strangers. Teaching a child on the autism spectrum about “stranger danger” and how to react in a dangerous situation is complicated by social and communication difficulties. However, it is particularly important given the high rate of autistic children who wander away. Additionally, children on the autism spectrum are more likely to be alone than with…

Education After High School: What are the Options?

More and more students on the autism spectrum are deciding to pursue education beyond high school. One reason for this is the recognition by post-secondary institutions that autistic students can be not only qualified, but also successful students, particularly when given needed supports. As a result, there are more and more post-secondary programs to choose from. Most people think of traditional college when they think of post-secondary…

Taking a Keystone Exam

Keystone exams are end-of-course assessments that are designed to test a student’s proficiency in certain subjects. Beginning in 2017, Pennsylvania requires students to take and pass these exams before being allowed to graduate. If a student passes the exam, he or she is said to be “Proficient” or “Advanced” in the subject matter. A student who fails the exam will receive a score of “Below Basic” or “Basic.” Currently there are Keystone exams…

Romance 101: Dating for Autistic Adults

Navigating the singles’ scene is not easy for anyone, whether or not you are on the autism spectrum. Nevertheless, autistic adults may need to hurdle far more obstacles than their neurotypical peers to thrive in a world of dating. Some autistic adults go through their entire adult life without having much interest in romance or dating, while others are very interested and actively pursue romantic relationships. If you are interested, this…

So You Think You May Be on the Autism Spectrum…

So you think you may be on the autism spectrum? Why might this have occurred to you? Perhaps you have put two and two together and maybe this makes some sense for you. Just maybe: You have always had trouble making friends and/or you just don’t find it so important to have friends. There are lots of jokes you just don’t find funny, and all the people around you do. You have an unusually strong interest in things. (For example, in baseball, you…

Family Questions to Ask When Determining Driving Readiness

This list of questions was developed by autism and driving safety researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to assist families of autistic teens and young adults who are considering learning to drive. We recommend discussing these questions as a family and with your team of support professionals, including your physician*: • Do you feel your teen/young adult consistently demonstrates good judgment and maturity at school, around…

Social Security Disability Insurance for Adults with Disabilities

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI, also known as SSD) is an entitlement benefit. The amount of income an individual receives from SSDI is dependent on the amount the individual or his or her responsible parent paid into the social security program. As an adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there may be two ways for you to qualify for SSDI. The first is if you have worked a minimum amount of time (the amount of time required…

Accessing Waivers through the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs

The Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), part of the Commonwealth’s Department of Human Services (formerly the Department of Public Welfare), administers two waiver programs that may be appropriate for some individuals on the autism spectrum: The Person/Family Directed Waiver The Consolidated Waiver Both of these waivers require that the individual be at least three years old, have a documented diagnosis of intellectual…

Children’s Health Insurance Program in Pennsylvania

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage for families who do not qualify for Medical Assistance (MA) and who are not able to meet the expense of private insurance. CHIP is funded by states and the federal government, but it is administered by states. Below is information on how to apply for CHIP in Pennsylvania. Eligibility Your child may qualify for CHIP in Pennsylvania if he or she is: Under 19 years old A U.S….

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has become more prevalent as technology becomes more readily available. Cyberbullying occurs online or through text messages and emails. Examples include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or social media, posting or sending embarrassing pictures or videos without consent, and creating fake profiles. Cyberbullying can be particularly destructive as it can happen anonymously and can be distributed quickly to a wide…

History and Current Status of Keystone Exams in Pennsylvania

In 2010, Pennsylvania passed a law that supported the creation of 10 end-of-course assessments, known as “Keystone Exams,” in the following subject areas: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government. These exams would serve two purposes: (1) establishing high school graduation requirements for students throughout the state; and (2) providing a way…

Graduation Requirements for Pennsylvania Students with IEPs

Beginning in 2019, most high school students in Pennsylvania will be required to take and pass Keystone exams in Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature, in order to graduate. Students who receive special education services are not usually exempt from these tests. Each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will determine whether the student: Takes Keystone Exams without accommodations; or Takes Keystone Exams with accommodations; or…

Could I Have Gone Through My Entire Childhood on the Autism Spectrum? Pursuing an ASD Diagnosis as an Adult

It’s true: most diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are given to children. However, there are likely many adults who are on the autism spectrum but who do not have an official diagnosis. This may be because these adults were misdiagnosed as children or simply found ways to “get by.” Depending on how old you are, when you were younger, autism may have been a diagnosis only given to children who had little or no language…

How to Apply for Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania

Medical Assistance (MA, also known as Medicaid) is a public insurance system. It may be used to cover medical bills that insurance does not pay or can be used as a primary insurance if a child is not covered by other insurance. MA will cover everything from routine office visits, to prescription drugs, to speech-language therapy. However, not all service providers accept MA. Parents must check to determine if their child’s pediatrician,…

I Just Received a Diagnosis as an Adult — Now What?!

Life has been difficult at times, and I now understand a bit about why I seemed to be different from everyone else growing up, why I had trouble understanding and following social rules, why I struggled understanding people’s emotional reactions, and why I didn’t necessarily feel the way others felt when emotionally charged information was presented. School was rough, except for the subjects I truly enjoyed! I never realized that the difference…

Accommodations and Supports for School-Age Students on the Autism Spectrum

Accommodations and supports are designed to minimize obstacles to learning or participating in the educational environment. The accommodations and supports your child receives will depend on your child’s needs and the goals set in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. The list below contains some common ones used with students on the autism spectrum. Many of the supports listed are visual. Often children on the autism spectrum…

Protection of Medical Information Under HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of medical records. In general, the HIPAA Privacy Rule, found in Title II of the Act, requires written authorization from a patient (or the patient’s parent or legal guardian) before information may be released to an outside party. It also gives patients the right to look at or request a copy of their medical records, request a correction or change to…

The Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) and Other Federal Insurance Assistance Programs

In 2014, families across America began to experience a new healthcare system, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or colloquially as “ObamaCare” (because the ACA was an initiative of President Barack Obama). The ACA is implemented differently in different states. In general, individuals may choose a healthcare plan by shopping in the “Healthcare Marketplace.” The Marketplace is an online shopping terminal (though information can be accessed…

Making Community Outings Safer – How to Obtain Handicapped Parking

Parents and primary caretakers of children with significant developmental disabilities may be eligible for disability placards, allowing them to park in handicapped parking spaces. These parking spaces are more convenient and closer to the entrance to the doctor’s office, the supermarket’s front doors, the movie theater, etc. Criteria, although similar, are determined individually from state to state. Common criteria include: Sight impairment;…

Elopement

A leading cause of concern for many parents of children on the autism spectrum is that they may accidentally run or wander away. This is also called elopement. The time to address elopement is before it becomes an emergency. Elopement may happen at any age. How can I keep my child safe? The following are some tools and ideas to help you plan for and prevent your child from wandering away from your home: Install a home security alarm system….

Workplace Accommodations and Supports for Autistic Individuals

Supports for individuals in the workplace can take the form of job accommodations and adaptations. Some commonly used supports are listed below. If you are an individual on the autism spectrum, you may need to self-advocate in order to receive one or more of these. If it is difficult for you to self-advocate, consider working with a counselor or job coach who can help you figure out how to ask for supports or who can advocate on your behalf. To…

What to Expect from OVR

Your state’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) provides vocational services to help individuals with disabilities – including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – to prepare for, obtain, and retain employment. Each state receives funding from the federal government, which is supplemented by state funding. OVR eligibility requirements vary by state as do the specific services offered by each state. In general, OVR can help you: Figure out…

Homeschooling

Homeschooling (also known as home education and home-based learning) is the education of children at home instead of in a public or private school. Instruction is typically overseen by parents and may be provided by parents, a consortium of parents, tutors, or the internet. Some districts will also allow homeschooled students to take courses at the local public school. The U.S. Government recognizes homeschooling as a right. Therefore, some…

Finding Support from Friends and Family After a Diagnosis

So… you just found out your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). You may feel overwhelmed and have all sorts of feelings. Now more than ever, you need the support of your close friends and family. It is not uncommon that parents in your position feel frustrated by the reactions of those closest to them when they disclose their child’s new ASD diagnosis. This is a time when most friends and family members simply don’t know…

CHADD

Provides education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ADHD and their families; Online support group

2031 66th Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19138

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215-948-2373
Website
philadelphia-chadd@chadd.net

It Takes a Village to Build a Team

In life, every one of us needs a village (or a team) to turn to, to feel a part of, to have a connection with, and to give and receive support from. If there is a child with learning needs in the family, members of this village can be a lifeline for the caretakers. Village members usually include: a spouse, best friend, neighbor, extended family members, etc. These are the individuals who provide a listening ear, a knowing nod, occasional child…

Autism Child Care Connection

Events and online support for families with children diagnosed with ASD

628 E Lincoln Highway
Coatesville, PA 19320

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(484) 378-9448
Website
accc@autismccc.org

Obtaining a Handicapped Placard

Parents and primary caretakers of children with significant developmental disabilities may be eligible for disability placards, allowing them to park in handicapped parking spaces. These parking spaces are more convenient and closer to the entrance to the doctor’s office, the supermarket’s front doors, the movie theater, etc. Criteria, although similar, are determined individually from state to state. Common criteria include: Sight impairment;…

Safety Basics for Families Living with ASD

All parents worry about how to keep their children safe. When your child is on the autism spectrum, safety becomes an even greater concern. Parents of a child on the autism spectrum need to develop safety plans. These plans should be based on how well your child can communicate, his or her personal interests, and sensory issues. Have regular and frequent safety talks with your child. Many children on the autism spectrum learn from repetition,…

Getting Around: It’s A Matter of Independence

Part of transitioning to adulthood includes taking steps to make sure you can live as independently as possible. Part of being independent includes being able to get to where you need to go. Driving oneself may be an option for some autistic adults; others use paratransit, which is available to people with disabilities who are functionally unable to use regular fixed-route transportation. However, many autistic individuals rely on public…

Supports for School Personnel

Supports for School Personnel are supports given to teachers or other professionals at the school to help them to be more effective in working with your child. One example is providing extra training to teachers to help them understand and work with students on the autism spectrum. Sometimes, intensive training is necessary. In these situations, an autism consultant can be brought to the school to help teachers and staff learn teaching and…

Travel Instruction: It’s a Matter of Independence

Part of transitioning to adulthood includes taking steps to make sure you can live as independently as possible. Part of being independent includes being able to get to where you need to go. Driving oneself may be an option for some adults on the autism spectrum, while others use paratransit, which is available to people with disabilities who are functionally unable to use regular fixed-route transportation. However, many autistic individuals…

Tools for Meeting Life’s Challenges

An educational non-profit organization that provides resources, support and advocacy, in-person and online to people with disabilities, their families, at no charge

Social Work Staff: Joe Scullin, MSW

 

100 Franklin Corner Road
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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1-866-594-8362
Website
jscullin@toolsmlc.org

Tools for Meeting Life’s Challenges

An educational non-profit organization that provides resources, support and advocacy, in-person and online to people with disabilities, their families, at no charge

Social Work Staff: Joe Scullin, MSW

 

509 S. Lenola Road Building 7
Moorestown, NJ 08057

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Website
jscullin@toolsmlc.org

Tools for Meeting Life’s Challenges

An educational non-profit organization that provides resources, support and advocacy, in-person and online to people with disabilities, their families, at no charge

Social Work Staff: Joe Scullin, MSW

 

 

 

 

2001 Market Street Suite 2900
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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1-866-594-8362
Website
jscullin@toolsmlc.org

What to Expect from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Your state’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) provides vocational services to help individuals with disabilities – including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – to prepare for, obtain, and retain employment. Each state receives funding from the federal government, which is supplemented by state funding. OVR eligibility requirements vary by state as do the specific services offered by each state. In general, OVR can help you: Figure out…

Autism Community and Care Connection

Events and online support for families with children diagnosed with ASD

P.O. Box 430
Coatesville, PA 19320

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610-380-5122
Website
accc@autismccc.org

Wrightslaw

Online special education resources; Special education trainings

Delco Family PASS

Support group for parents of children with autism; Social events and twice annual speaker meetings; Online support for parents

512 Wilde Avenue
Drexel Hill, PA 19026

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(484) 469-0459
Website
Psashton@delcofamilypass.com; erinlopez@delcofamilypass.com

CHADD

Provides education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ADHD and their families; Online support group

4601 Presidents Drive Suite 300
Latham, MD 20706

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800-233-4050; 301-306-7070
Website

Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income as an Adult with ASD

There are several different government programs that help to support and care for individuals who are not able to support and care for themselves. Eligibility for these programs needs to be established; it is not a given. The following article explains one government benefit – Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You may also want to read other articles within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ to learn about Social Security Disability Insurance…

Driving and Autism

For autistic teens and young adults, the decision to pursue a driver’s license is a milestone that other families might take for granted as a natural rite of passage. We rely on transportation to get to work or school, to shop, to see the doctor, and to participate in community and social events. If driving is not the best option for a teen, other options must be found to give autistic individuals access to community activities, employment, and…

CAR Resource Directory™