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How the Autism Diagnosis Affects ID Waiver Qualifications in Alabama

Two Home and Community Based Waiver programs are available for people with intellectual disabilities in Alabama. These are named Intellectual Disabilities Waiver and and Living at Home Waiver.

The waivers help maintain people in their own homes who would have been placed in an Intermediate Care Facility. The waiver pays for day hab programs (such as Arc), residential housing (aka group homes), respite care, personal care and health services not funded by other means. The program also pays for diapers and bed pads under the "specialized medical supplies" program.

To qualify for this program the person must have a documented IQ of 69 or below on a psychological exam AND have an adaptive skills deficit as measured on an approved instrument. Both of these scores must have been measured before age 18 and if the person is an adult, these items will need measured again. Although a person with Autism may need the same level of care as a person with an intellectual disability, the Autism diagnosis is not enough to qualify. In fact, it can work against you.

The PRIMARY diagnosis must be ID. Right now the "in" diagnosis to have is Autism. Many schools have accepted this label and didn't bother to list ID because parents didn't want the ID label. The result is a generation of children who were never diagnosed with ID before their 18th birthday. This makes Autism the PRIMARY diagnosis. Fair or not, they will not meet the criteria to qualify for an ID or LAH Waiver, which will be invaluable after the parents begin to age.

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