FAQs – Autism Services

What is Autism?

Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Autism has its roots in early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 12 and 18 months of age. Some infants and toddlers begin develop normally until the second year of life, when they lose skills and develop autism – a pattern called “regression.”

What Does It Mean to be “On the Spectrum?”

Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have intellectual disability (IQ less than 70), and many have normal to above average intelligence. About 25 percent of individuals with ASD are nonverbal but can learn to communicate using other means.

What is an Autism Waiver?

The Adult Autism Waiver is a State of Pennsylvania Medical Assistance program that provides home and community-based services specifically designed to help adults with an autism spectrum disorder participate in their communities in the way they want to. More information on the PA Adult Autism Waiver, including eligibility and applying for the waiver, is available on the PA Department of Public Welfare website.

For more information, contact:
Denise Pioli, Community Education Director
D.Romansky@ViaNet.org | 610-317-8000 x467

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COVID-19

COVID-19 UPDATE:

To comply with Governor Wolf’s mandate that non-essential businesses be closed and with guidance from the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), that funds many of our programs, Small Group Employment, many Community Employment Services, Creative Expressions Adult Training Facility and Prevocational Workshop are closed for participants until the mandate is lifted. 

However, ODP has determined that home and community-based services are considered life-sustaining and are exempt from the Governor’s directive asking for the closure of all non-essential businesses.  Therefore, Via will provide limited Community Participation supports, In-Home services and Behavioral Support services.  As we learn more from ODP, coordinators will reach out to participants about services that are available.  We are reaching out to Via staff now to determine who can provide these services. 

Coordinators are working remotely and are available by email or phone to answer your questions.  Please contact your coordinator by email or phone if you need anything or email Via@ViaNet.org.