Adult Autism Services

Skills provides behavior support services, in-home and in-community services, and employment support services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder diagnosis through Pennsylvania’s Adult Autism Waiver.

Behavior Support Services

Behavior Support Services provides support for individuals who demonstrate behavioral challenges because of limited social skills, communication skills, or impaired sensory systems. A Functional Behavior Assessment is completed for each person in the program. Based on the information learned through the assessment, a support plan is developed which focuses on teaching adaptive behaviors, enhancing the environment to meet the needs of the person and diminishing problem behaviors which interfere with learning and inclusion in home, work and community life.

Using a person-centered approach, the focus is on the use of positive behavioral strategies to support the person in meeting the challenges of everyday life.

Community-Based Services

Based on the individual’s wants and needs, the community inclusion, day habilitation and residential habilitation programs include services tailored to help the individual improve his or her capacity to perform activities of daily living (e.g., communication, mobility, community awareness, independent living skills, basic hygiene skills).

Community Inclusion

Community Inclusion is designed to assist individuals in acquiring, retaining, and improving communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help, and adaptive skills necessary to be an active member in the community. Community Inclusion facilitates the individual’s social interaction, use of natural supports and typical community services available to everyone, and participation in education and volunteer activities.

Community inclusion may include personal assistance in completing activities of daily living and helping to reduce the need for direct personal assistance by improving the individual’s capacity to perform these tasks independently.

Day Habilitation

Day Habilitation is provided in adult training facilities licensed under 55 PA Code Chapter 2380. Day Habilitation provides individualized assistance with acquiring, retaining, and improving communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help, and adaptive skills necessary to be an active member in the community. Day Habilitation provides on-site modeling of skills through support, training, and/or supervision.

Residential Habilitation

Residential Habilitation is provided in a licensed facility not owned by the individual or a family member. Residential Habilitation is provided in two types of licensed facilities: Community Homes (Group Settings) licensed under Title 55 Pennsylvania Code Chapter 6400; and Family Living Homes licensed under Title 55 Pennsylvania Code Chapter 6500. Residential Habilitation can also be provided in an unlicensed facility owned by and individual or family member.

Residential habilitation assists individuals up to 24 hours a day in acquiring, retaining, and improving communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help, and adaptive skills necessary to reside in the community. This service includes transportation to community activities not included in the Medicaid State Plan or other services in this waiver. Transportation costs are built into the rate for this service.

Individuals with autism may choose to live in Skills modern, attractive Community Homes designed and built for accessibility. Along with an on-site team of dedicated direct support professionals 24 hours a day, these private residential settings feature fully equipped kitchens, beautifully furnished living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, and sparkling baths. Residents enjoy the privacy of their own rooms decorated in the colors and styles they choose. Skills encourages individuals to be as independent as possible and assists where needed depending on the individual’s needs and wants.

Lifesharing Thru Family Living matches individuals with autism with single people or families who are interested in opening their hearts and homes. They provide security, support, guidance, and love. These long-term, stable relationships enrich the quality of life for people with disabilities as they become active, participating members of the household and within the communities where they live.

Employment Services

Job Assessment and Finding

Job Assessment and Finding provides support necessary for the individual to obtain paid or volunteer work in the community, including job assessment and job development. Ongoing services may be provided under Supported Employment Services, or may not be necessary if the participant obtains competitive employment. Job assessment and finding may be provided concurrent with Supported Employment if the participant wants to obtain a better job while continuing to work.

Skills will find suitable employment based on an individualized vocational assessment that includes:

  1. Conducting a review of the individual’s work history, interests, and skills that result in recommendations for employment and, if necessary, training.
  2. Identifying jobs in the community that match the individual’s interests, abilities, and skills.
  3. Situational assessments (job tryouts) to access the individual’s interest and aptitude in a particular type of job.
  4. Assistance in identifying and securing a job that fits the individual’s preference and employer’s needs based on data obtained during the situational assessments.
  5. A successful outcome is defined as a permanent job placement where the individual has worked for at least 30 calendar days.

Supported Employment

Supported Employment provides ongoing assistance in developing the communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help, and adaptive skills necessary to maintain employment in a community setting. This service provides ongoing assistance in maintaining employment. The Job Finding service is available to help participants identify and obtain a position of employment. Supported Employment Services are provided for person who, because of their disability, needs intensive ongoing support to perform in a work setting. The intent of this service is to reduce the need for assistance by improving the individual’s capacity to work independently.


This statewide program designed to provide support services to meet the needs of those ages 21 and older with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To be eligible for Adult Autism Waiver Services, individuals need to:

  • Have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Be 21 years of age or older at time of enrollment
  • Live in Pennsylvania
  • Meet financial and functional eligibility

In order for a person to be eligible, he or she must qualify for Medical Assistance; therefore, financial eligibility is determined by the County Assistance Office (CAO).


The Bureau of Autism Services handles all applications and referrals. For more information about this program, eligibility requirements and/or to request an application, please contact the Bureau of Autism Services:

Bureau of Autism Services
Office of Developmental Programs
Department of Public Welfare
Third Floor, Bertolino Building
1401 North Seventh Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Questions regarding eligibility requirements for the Adult Autism Waiver should be directed to 1-866-539-7689.

To request an application, call 1-866-539-7689.