Missouri Autism Projects

The Department of Mental Health’s Division of Devlopmental Disabilities funds five regional autism projects that collectively provide services to approximately 3500 families statewide. The first project was established in 1991 after families in rural Missouri approached legislators to ask for autism-specific family support. As a result of these efforts, authorities were established and funding was secured for family-centered services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders throughout the state. Parent Advisory Committees (PACs) were formed to represent and oversee each autism project and to make recommendations for service needs. Each regional autism project Parent Advisory Committee elects members to sit on the Missouri Parent Advisory Committee on Autism, which serves as a statewide liaison for the regional committees and the division.

The council on State Governments featured the Missouri Autism Projects in its June 1996 issue of State Innovations Briefs: New and Best Practices in State Government. State Innovations Briefs highlight award-winning programs in state government selected by state leaders and managers.

Hierarchy of Authority:

MO Parent Advisory Committee/Autism Projects:

Autism Project Services May Include:

Each regional project shall each have parent advisory committee composed of persons with autism, including family members that are young children, school-age children, and adults, and who have met the division's eligibility requirements to be served as defined under section 630.005, RSMo. Members of a regional parent advisory committee shall be Missouri residents. No member shall be a service provider, a member of a service provider's board of directors, or an employee of a service provider or the division.

Members are nominated by the parent advisory committee for three-year terms and appointed by the Deputy Director and Assistant Director. Annual elections for Chair, Vice-chair, and Secretary are held in July. Attendance and participation at parent advisory committee meetings are strongly encouraged for persons that have family members with autism, persons with autism, other interested parties, and the general public.

The committee’s responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to, the following: