Autism in Asheville: How to Find Local Support
Currently, 1 out of 150 people born in the United States are diagnosed with autism. Adequately supporting children with autism is a nationwide challenge, and a challenge we have met fairly well in WNC. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, "Twelve WNC school districts, including Asheville City and Buncombe County, are among the top 50 in the state for their percentage of students with autism". Although there is always room for improvement, the autism support services (including school) in Asheville are excellent. In fact, our area is a veritable magnet for out-of-state families with autism, yet some folks right here at home do not utilize the local support services, perhaps because they don't know how to access them.
Many people with autism, regardless of family income, are eligible for state-funded 'services'. 'Services' usually means getting to have some form of support, such as a case-manager, and a one-on-one for the individual with autism, outside of school. The amount of one-on-one time a person receives depends on several factors, including severity of symptoms, compounding health problems, and living situation.
To begin the process for obtaining services, a parent, guardian, or individual with autism can call Western Highlands Network, our local management entity, at 1-800-951-3792. A person does not need Medicaid, or any insurance at all to access services. When you call, Western Highlands will assign a case-manager, who then assists the family in completing the process. One of the steps involved is to select a service provider (the service provider is the agency that employs the one-on-ones).
Aside from state funded support, Asheville is the proud home of an array of support services such as the Asheville TEACCH Center, the Olson Huff Center, the Autism Society of North Carolina, WNC Best, and the Family Support Network. Some of the services offered through these organizations are free, such as parent advocacy at the Autism Society, social groups at the TEACCH center, and support groups at the Family Support Network.
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About the Author - Sylvia van Meerten
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