N.D.’s new autism services voucher program now available

BISMARCK – The N.D. Department of Human Services announced Tuesday that families of children ages 3 through 17 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder who meet income requirements can apply for a new voucher program to help pay for assistive technology, training and other approved support services that enhance the quality of life of children with autism disorders and help meet the unique needs of families caring for them.

“The goal is to address gaps in non-therapy related services and to provide more support to families,” said Trisha Page, the department’s Autism Services Coordinator. The number of families benefitting from the new voucher program for children will depend on the unique needs of participating children and their families.

To qualify for voucher services and items, a family’s gross income cannot exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level. That is currently $39,580 for a household of three and $47,700 for a household of four. An income chart and information about autism-related services is online at (nd.gov/dhs/autism).

Categories of covered services and supports include assistive technology equipment, video modeling DVDs or equipment, language generating devices, training and educational materials for parents, sensory equipment, tutoring, safety equipment, self-care equipment, and registration and related expenses for workshops or training to improve independent living skills, decision-making and social skills. In addition, the voucher can pay for memberships and related fees to community organizations and specialized camps, and can pay for specialized care services including autism-specific child care and respite care. Adaptive sports and activities, and transportation directly related to voucher-funded services may also be covered.

For more information, contact N.D. Department of Human Services’ Autism Services Coordinator Page at 328-8949, toll free 800-755-2719, ND Relay TTY 800-366-6888, or email at tpage@nd.gov.