Frequently Asked Questions - Finding Services
HCBS stands for Home and Community Based Services.
For children five and under with autism, you may be eligible to apply for the HCBS autism waiver program. It provides services such as consultation, intensive therapy, respite care, and parent training.
It is on a waiting list system, so apply as soon as you have a diagnosis. More information on the program as well as the application form can be found at the Kansas Early Autism site.
Warning: This program is severely underfunded, and new children aren't currently being added to the program. Chances are that your child will "age out" of the program before their name comes up. It is still really important that you apply anyway and get on the waiting list. The more children are waiting for services, the clearer it is to legislators that there is a need to provide those services. It also means you'll be on the waitning list once funding resumes.
If your name comes up on the waiting list and you don't need any of the services, you are free to decline them and let the next family on the waiting list take your slot.
Children five and above may qualify for services through the MR/DD waiver. This is also part of the HCBS waiver program, but it is a separate waiting list from the under five autism program. Like the other program, it is severely underfunded. The waiting list may last many years. And like the other program, it is important to make sure your child is on the waiting list to indicate to legislators that this is a program worth funding.
Caveat on both waiver programs: These programs are partially income based. Only the child's income and resources are considered for initial eligibility, but the parental income is considered for a "participation fee." Make sure you understand your financial obligations for participating in the program. You are not obligated to take the waiver if it is offered to you.
Services through Kansas SRS are administered by local organizations called CDDOs. (Community Developmental Disabilities Organization) The CDDO for Douglas and Jefferson counties is Cottonwood Inc.
The CDDOs are designed to be a "single point of entry" for the state of Kansas network of services. However, they do not handle private and charity services.
Family grants were available twice a year to families not receiving waiver services. At this point it looks like there is no funding for these services.
In Douglas County, Tiny K provides educational interventions such as speech and occupational therapy for qualifying children under the age of three. Evaluation for developmental delay is free, but they do not evaluate for autism.
The school district provides services for children over the age of three. Preschool aged children with language delays may qualify for free preschool. The three choices the school district will fund include Raintree, East Heights, and the KU Language Acquisition Preschool. Of those three schools, East Heights is the only one run entirely by the school district.