Policy Research Brief: A National Review of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders


A brief reporting findings of a study that gathered data in 2009-2010 about how people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are being served across states in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver programs and discussing implications for providing services and supports for this growing population in the future. Autism spectrum disorders are among the fastest-growing developmental disability diagnosis in the U.S. This increased diagnosis, coupled with the large number of children with ASD now reaching adulthood, highlights the need to learn more about the services and supports that are currently available for adults with ASD, and consider those that will be needed throughout their adult lifespan. The focus in this issue of Policy Research Brief is on the extent to which states have included people with ASD in their Home and Community Based Services Medicaid waiver programs, the programs that have, in recent decades, been the primary source of funding support for individuals with intellectual disabilities and related conditions (such as ASD, cerebral palsy, and others) who are living in the community. Historically these systems were designed to primarily meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, and they present certain challenges when looked to as a source for specialized funding and support services for adults with ASD.


December 2011 
Volume 21, Number 3
Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL)


  • Community life
    • Community supports and services
  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
    • Adults
  • Housing and residential services
    • Family supports/in-home services
    • Medicaid services (residential)
  • Specific disability
    • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)