Rendell Announces Grants to Support Families of Pennsylvanians with Autism

HARRISBURG – To assist the growing number of Pennsylvanians living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Gov. Edward G. Rendell today announced the availability of one-time mini-grants to help individuals and families gain access to essential community services and supports.

“For families supporting a loved one with autism, it is sometimes a challenge to be able to find and pay for quality services,” said Rendell. “Through these grants, families will be able to open doors to services that may have previously been closed.”

Autism is a neurobiological disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. In the past 15 years, the number of individuals in Pennsylvania diagnosed with an ASD has risen by over 2,000 percent.

“Through this grant initiative, we’re reaching out to families of loved ones with autism and helping them to further break down the barriers that sometimes exist as they look for essential services that will help their loved one succeed in school and in life,” said Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman.

Applications for the grants must be completed and submitted to the Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Autism Services by April 27, 2007. Families may be eligible for grants of up to $500 which can be used for supports and activities, including child care, summer camp/recreation programs, or home modifications.

To be eligible, individuals or families must be a United States citizen, as well as a resident of Pennsylvania not currently receiving any other family support services, including waiver-funded services, Family-Driven Support Services, services funded under Individual Support Plans or county-based funds from MH/MR or other similar services or funding.

The Rendell administration is establishing a national model of excellence in autism service delivery and has placed an emphasis on establishing statewide diagnostic, assessment, training and intervention standards to meet the lifetime needs of Pennsylvanians living with autism.

To find out more about Governor Rendell’s autism initiatives, to learn more about applying for a mini-grant or to download an application, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us/disable/autismservices or call, toll-free, 1-800-497-6898.

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