Research Article: Exploring the Effect of Autism Waiver Services on Family Outcomes
Eskow, K., Pineles, L. and Summers, J. A. (2011), Exploring the Effect of Autism Waiver Services on Family Outcomes. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8: 28–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-1130.2011.00284.x
This study examined the effect of services provided through Maryland’s Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver for children with autism on several outcomes related to families, specifically family quality of life (FQoL) and employment. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the services provided through the Maryland autism waiver on families’ perceived quality of life by comparing responses of families receiving waiver services in Maryland with families in the same state who were on the registry (i.e., a waiting list) for waiver services. An invitation letter and Internet-based survey were sent out to 723 waiver recipients and 2,298 families on the wait-list registry by the state’s agency administering the waiver program. Some 861 surveys (229 waiver, 632 registry) were returned, yielding an overall response rate of 28.8% (31.6% waiver, 27.5% registry). Both study groups reported lower satisfaction with FQoL and the majority of respondents in both groups reported that having a child with autism affected their employment. However, the findings suggest that families of children with autism who currently receive services through the waiver report higher FQoL than those not receiving services through the waiver. The authors note that there needs to be additional research to fully understand the most effective features of the waiver, including whether and how waiver programs make a difference in families’ quality of life, health, and participation in school, work and leisure activities, and the effect of self-determination on these outcomes.
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