April is National Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month

The HHSC Children’s Autism Program is highlighting Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month to educate and empower Texas communities by connecting them to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) resources. According to the Autism Society of Texas, ASD is a developmental condition that can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships and self-regulation. This lifelong condition commonly appears during early childhood and affects people in different ways.

Since 2013, the HHSC Children’s Autism Program has provided about 700,000 hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to Texas children ages 3–15 who have been diagnosed with ASD. According to the Autism Society of Texas, children diagnosed with autism by age 4 are 50 times more likely to receive services, which may include case management and speech therapy.

Common signs and characteristics of ASD:

  • Repetitive behaviors, movements or phrases.
  • Lack of response to their name or visual cues.
  • Atypical verbal communication or nonspeaking.
  • Difficulty understanding or expressing feelings.
  • Avoiding eye contact.

Children’s Autism Program services are provided through contracts with local community agencies and organizations. These services may take place at home, via telehealth, at a clinic or in familiar settings in the community. ABA uses behavioral principles to evaluate and teach socially relevant behavior and new skills while encouraging desirable behaviors through positive reinforcement. The Children’s Autism Program has supported local agencies to serve over 700 children between September 2021 and August 2022. To qualify for the Children’s Autism Program ABA-focused services, eligible Texas residents must be diagnosed by a licensed doctor or psychologist who is trained and has a background in treating neurodevelopmental disorders.

To apply, find your nearest provider by visiting 211texas.org or calling 800-222-3986 (ext. 4385356), 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday, or emailing the Children's Autism Program.