What are the Missouri Autism Projects?
Missouri’s Autism Projects are five regional projects that provide autism programs and services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Funded through the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, the Autism Projects provide supports and services to approximately 4,000 families statewide.
The Autism Projects were established in 1991 as a pilot program. Families in rural Missouri worked with the Missouri legislature to secure funding for autism-specific family support. Regulations were established in 1999 (9 CSR 45-3.060) and legislation was passed in 2009 (633.220 RSMo) to establish at least five regional Autism Projects. Each regional Autism Project has a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) comprised of individuals with ASD or family members of individuals with ASD. The PACs make program recommendations to the Department of Mental Health for the provision of ASD services.
How do Autism Projects Work?
Each Autism Project is represented by a Parent Advisory Council (PAC). The PAC makes recommendations to the Department of Mental Health regarding funding models, funding allocations, services provided, and contracted providers. Based on these recommendations, the Department administers Autism Project services. FY21 Funding Allocation Map.
The state is currently divided into five regional Autism Projects:
- Central Missouri Autism Project
- Eastern Missouri Autism Project
- Northwest Missouri Autism Project
- Southeast Missouri Autism Project
- Southwest Missouri Autism Project
The Central, Southeast, and Southwest Autism Projects operate on a shared unit funding model. The shared unit funding model allocates funding to selected contracted providers to provide a menu of autism services to families in a specific region. The Northwest and East Autism Projects operate on a family allocation model. Families in these regions are allocated an allotment of funds to purchase authorized autism services. In order to obtain Autism Project services, individuals must be diagnosed with ASD, meet Department eligibility requirements, and have an identified need for specific ASD services. All individuals must initiate services through the Department’s regional offices.
What Services do Autism Projects Provide?
633.220 RSMo specifies the services that may be provided through the Autism Projects. Regional PACs make specific recommendations regarding services available in a particular region.
Autism Project Services May Include:
- Behavior Management Training & Supports
- Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy
- Communication & Language Therapy
- Information & Referral Assistance
- Parent or Caregiver Training
- Public Education & Information Dissemination
- Consultation on Individualized Education & Habilitation Plans
- Contemporary and Emerging Evidence-based Practices
- Life Skills
- Music Therapy
- Advocacy Training
- Crisis Intervention
- Respite Care
- Staff Training
- Social Skills Training