Texas service system
As the need for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services has grown, countless organizations and programs have expanded or emerged in Texas to better serve the autism community. Today, hundreds of organizations and programs, both public and private, exist to provide critical services to individuals with ASD and their families — services such as screening, diagnosis, therapy and counseling.
Collectively, these organizations and programs create a service system in Texas. Services provided address needs from childhood to the senior years. The system's goals include early diagnosis, rehabilitation, treatment, education, training, advocacy, and general support to help people with ASD reach their full potential.
The Texas service system currently includes numerous state and federal programs that benefit individuals with ASD and their families. Many of the programs administered by Texas state agencies are supported by federal funds. Frequently, funding from state programs is passed through to public and private organizations on the local level; those organizations then provide direct services to citizens on the state's behalf.
The state's autism programs are managed primarily by health and human services state agencies. Most of these programs are available statewide. In addition to autism programs, there are many state programs that provide other social services, such as health care and food assistance, to needy families and individuals who are living with autism in Texas.
At the local level, independent school districts, supported by both state and federal dollars, provide special education services to thousands of children and young adults with ASD statewide. The local service system also includes local MR authorities which serve as a point of entry for publicly funded programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Located in communities across the state, local MR authorities develop and offer a variety of services for individuals who quality for these programs, including persons with mental illness. Nonprofit organizations, many with programs focused exclusively on people with ASD or disabilities in general, are key service providers in many local communities as well. Numerous Texas universities also offer services to individuals and families through programs they operate to further ASD research and train their students. Finally, the Texas service system involves countless private service providers who offer therapies, medical care, social skills training, recreational opportunities and other helpful services to families living with ASD in their communities.
In summary, many services and resources are available on the state and local level that can be of valuable assistance to Texans with ASD and their families. This section of the website provides an overview of the array of services available in Texas and directs people to the organizations that provide them.
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Updated: February 8, 2013