Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Autism Spectrum Disorders Home

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. One quote related to autism that we often see is “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” This quote speaks to the very heart of what autism is – a “spectrum” disorder that affects each person differently and to a unique degree.  

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) supports more than 30,000 New Yorkers with autism.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 59 children are now identified with ASD.   It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States and it is four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.  It also impacts adults.

Knowing the signs of ASD is critical.  New parents can detect issues early by learning the signs of ASD and monitoring when their child achieves certain milestones. The CDC’s   Learn the Signs, Act Early page is an excellent resource that can assist parents in this endeavor. The earlier a person is diagnosed, the earlier he or she may begin receiving supports and services.

Dozens of state and nonprofit agencies work together to support the tens of thousands of New Yorkers with autism spectrum disorder, providing an array of family support services; educational supports; assistive technology; clinical services including those for behavioral health; habilitation supports including skill development, day services and employment; and residential supports.  At OPWDD, services and supports for people with ASD are accessed the same way services and supports are accessed for all the people we support:  through the local Developmental Disabilities Regional Office. Attending a  Front Door Information Session  is the first step in beginning the process of determining eligibility and learning about accessing services. 

Learn more about OPWDD supports and services.

Each one of the individuals we support has unique needs, preferences, abilities and life goals. Through our participation in the Autism Spectrum Advisory Board initiated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, our continued system-wide improvements, and our outreach to promote community inclusion and acceptance of people with all disabilities including those with ASD, we are confident in our ability to continue to meet the unique needs and goals of every person we support.