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A Word from the President

March 2, 2009

Adult Community Autism Program

Dennis W. Felty
Dennis W. Felty
President, KHS

I am pleased to announce that the Bureau of Autism Services and Keystone Autism Services (KAS) have signed the provider agreement for the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP), a program supporting adults with autism spectrum disorders.

As a program designed specifically for adults, ACAP is an important milestone because many adults with autism receive few services, and they and their families must frequently confront extraordinary vocational, social, behavioral and health care challenges. People usually associate autism with children and young people, but for many children, autism will continue to be a significant issue in their adult lives and the lives of their families. The prevalence of autism among children has increased dramatically, and despite extensive research, the cause remains undetermined. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently published data indicates that autism is now affecting one in every 150 children in the United States – children who may need services and supports as adults.

ACAP will fill the gap in services for adults. This comprehensive array of integrative services for adults with autism spectrum disorders in Lancaster, Dauphin and Cumberland Counties will incorporate health care, vocational, recreational, behavioral, family and social services into a single system. The program will serve as a model for Pennsylvania and the nation to develop meaningful and relevant services and supports for adults with autism in the community. Individually tailored to build on personal strengths, improve social skills and assist families and caregivers who are an essential part of the individual’s support team, ACAP’s services are designed to enhance and maximize each individual’s independence and capacity to participate meaningfully in community and family life.

Over the past several years, Keystone, in partnership with the Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Autism Services, has played a leading role in developing the program and procuring funding for ACAP. Because of our tradition of person-centered and community-based care and our experience in autism services, Keystone Autism Services was selected to implement ACAP. A subsidiary of Keystone Human Services, KAS is under the leadership of Executive Director James Gill. Dedicated to autism services, KAS is the culmination of Keystone’s commitment to supporting individuals and families with autism, allowing for the development of intensive, integrated and specialized autism services. The agency is in the process of forming a board of community leaders and family advocates.

We anticipate that this program will take 12-18 months to fully implement. Keystone will be hiring an extensive array of clinicians and community support professionals to address each participant’s unique needs and dreams.

Once fully implemented, ACAP will serve a total of 200 adults in Dauphin, Cumberland and Lancaster Counties. Please visit our website to view the eligibility and enrollment requirements for participation in ACAP. Individuals and families living in these three counties who are interested in these services will need to enroll with the Bureau of Autism Services. Persons enrolled will be served in the order of their enrollment in the program.

We are all beneficiaries of the committed and gifted leadership of Pennsylvania’s advocates, government officials and elected officials. ACAP will provide all of us with a tremendous opportunity to continue our mission of Advancing the Human Spirit and to work toward a time when all people are valued, participating and contributing members of our community. With the development of ACAP, we are collectively building a brighter future for individuals and our community, assuring that the gifts of all people are fully recognized and celebrated.

Dennis


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