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For Pennsylvania Families.

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Contents

Parent and Professional Training

Many states have comprehensive information on assisting families with transition. One that is particularly good is the Lifespans Transition Center at OCALI. While this site was developed for individuals and families in Ohio, it is universal in scope.


The Bureau of Autism Services has a dedicated website, the Bureau of Autism Services Virtual Training Center (BASVTC), which was developed to enable professionals and families to easily access trainings, documents, and other resources in one convenient location.

The website includes resources links to virtual courses that you can take online or download at your convenience. Some of the resources and trainings included on this site are:

PA Census Report, General introductory courses on Autism, BAS Outreach Materials, Conference Sessions, Best Practice Guidelines, Adult Autism Waiver Supports Coordination, and Functional Behavioral Assessment.

An additional online resource is available by visiting http://www.odpconsulting.net/ OPD Consulting. The ODP Consulting System Website is designed to provide information about the supports and services administered by the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). The mission of ODP is to provide individuals with mental retardation, autism, and their families the services and supports they need and the opportunity to make real choices about living, working and options for social activities to enable them to live in and participate fully in the life of their communities.

This website will connect you with up to date information and training material that can assist you in supporting your family member, friend, neighbor, or someone you support in living his or her Everyday Life. The resources on this site are approved by the Office of Developmental Programs, PA Department of Public Welfare and is maintained by the Office of Developmental Programs Consulting System (OCS).

BAS Regional Autism Collaborations

ASERT (Autism Services, Education, Research and Training)

A primary recommendation of the Pennsylvania Autism Task Force commissioned in 2004, these regional collaborations were created to enhance the lives of Pennsylvanians with autism of all ages and abilities by improving regional access to quality services and interventions, providing information and support to families, training professionals in best practices and facilitating partnerships among providers of services throughout the Commonwealth.

The ASERT collaboratives are funded by DPW, Bureau of Autism Services, but operate independently. They are each a collaboration of medical centers, centers of autism research and services, universities and other providers of services involved in the treatment and care of adults and children with an autism spectrum disorder.

The mission of the ASERT collaborations is to enhance the lives of Pennsylvanians with autism, of all ages and abilities, by:

  • improving regional access to quality services and interventions,
  • providing information and support to families,
  • training professionals in best practices and
  • facilitating partnerships among providers of services throughout the Commonwealth.


Currently the ASERT Autism Resource Guide, which can be found on the ASERT site has general information on autism, an intervention guide, and a comprehensive list of peer support groups across the state.
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Contact the ASERTs by region:

CENTRAL Director - Shiyoko Cothren, M.H.A. Ph: 1-877-231-4244

Website: www.AutismCentralPA.org

EASTERN Director – Peter Doehring, Ph.D. Ph: 1-866-506-5841 Email: aserteast@email.chop.edu

WESTERN Director - John McGonigle, Ph.D. Ph: 412-235-5407 Email: cramerrd@upmc.edu



Advocacy

While going through the process of transition, there are times when individuals and families may need to use advocacy skills to obtain funding, services, and or the specific types of supports to which they are entitled. By definition, advocacy is a process completed by individual(s) or organizations to obtain resources or impact public policy.

See the following resources for more helpful tips and information:


In the state of Pennsylvania, there are a number of advocacy organizations specifically for individuals with disabilities and autism. These organizations provide a variety of trainings throughout the state, and aim to empower and educate individuals with disabilities and their families to help them access supports and services. See below for a list of specific advocacy organizations:


Respite Services

Respite is a service provided on a short-term, emergency basis to relieve the primary caregivers. Waiver-funded respite typically has an annual four-week limit for services. Respite Services may be provided by a specialized agency in the person’s home, the home of a family member or friend, or in an agency-licensed respite home. Respite services may also be provided by someone that the person and family already knows who is qualified and willing to provide assistance either in the person’s home, the home of a family member or a friend’s home.
Respite - Overnight Camp: The temporary support/supervision of individuals in the absence/relief of their regular caregivers. This service is provided in residential camp settings. Respite in a residential camp is not contingent upon an emergency situation. This service shall not exceed four (4) weeks within a fiscal year except by waiver from regional offices on an individual basis.

Respite - Day Camp The temporary support/supervision of individuals in the absence/relief of their regular caregivers. Respite in a day camp setting is not contingent upon an emergency situation. The recommended maximum of four (4) sessions per family per month may be adjusted by County MH or I/DD Offices based on individual need.
The family aide may be responsible for the care and supervision of family members other than the family member with autism.
Home rehabilitation. This service is the minor renovation to a family's home to enable the continued care and support of the individual with autism in the home.

To find respite services near you, visit the National Respite Locator at http://archrespite.org/respitelocator.

For excellent consumer information, visit ARCH's site.

For additional information on Caregiver Support, visit the Family Caregiver Alliance.

Resources

Family Support, Education and Advocacy Resources