Working as a consultant to Supported Employment and Residential providers who support and care for individual’s with Classic Autism, I am often struck by the lack of training and resources that direct support staff receive on communication strategies. Many adults with Classic Autism now living in the community did not receive the benefits of Public Education that would have included Speech and Language Therapy and Social Skills supports in inclusive settings. This does not mean that functional communication is not necessary or that a person with autism cannot learn functional communication strategies, it’s often times the provider or the contractor who makes the decision to not pursue these services.

That’s why I am delighted that CMS has changed the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rules to ensure that all HCBS recipients receive clear, accessible information about their rights under the new rule through their preferred form of communication. My hope (and sometimes pure naivete) is that parents, guardians and advocates for those Adults with Classic Autism will have resources and supports to facilitate functional communication that supports the new HCBS rules.

As a parent of a young man with Classic Autism, I worked for years to provide training and technical assistance to his teacher and classroom assistants on “Autism-Specific” best practice, evidence based communication strategies. Today, he continues to use these strategies that include visual schedules, routines and work-systems (TEACCH), Social Stories(TM) and Sensory supports. Unfortunately it isn’t because his supported employment provider or residential care staff has training, it is because I insist on these supports and train them myself.

Quality of life is an individual perspective! Without a functional way to communicate, quality of life can not be measured. I am optimistic that the services that we know now will change and providers will receive the needed training and services to facilitate communication and choice. Get ahead of the wave and seek ASD Best Pracitice, Evidence Based Communication training and support, it’s ethically the right thing to do!

For more information on ASD Best Practice, Evidence Based Communication training and support contact Monica at