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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
State expands services for low-income autistic children
The state is launching a program to help low-income children with autism.
Eighty autistic children under 9 years old who need a high level of care will receive expanded services beginning this fall from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation's Autism Division through MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program.
The three-year, $2 million project will help children and their families in their homes or through community services, Elin Howe, DMR commissioner, said in an interview.
"It's far more intensive in terms of our typical array of family supports and family services," she said. "There is a decided need for very specialized services for people with autism."
Those services could include one-on-one behavioral therapy or help with communication skills, depending what families ask for, Howe said. Families could also get respite care designed for children with autism or modifications to their homes or vehicles.