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Emory Autism Center partners with State to help improve care for adults with autism

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The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and the Emory Autism Center (EAC) have entered into an agreement designed to improve Georgia’s community-based infrastructure for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

There is currently a critical need for resources and services for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Children who were diagnosed with ASD in the 1990’s are adults now, and the resources for them are scarce. As time goes on, the need will continue to grow.

Joseph Cubells

Joseph Cubells

"The needs of adults with autism spectrum disorder vary widely and can be quite complex," said Joseph Cubells, MD, PhD, director of medical and adult services at the Emory Autism Center. "We are looking forward to working with our colleagues at DBHDD to understand the growing need for services for adults living with autism, and their families."

Under the terms of this contract, EAC will analyze DBHDD’s current service delivery system; evaluate service quality of the department’s community providers; and develop recommendations for services, policies and procedures that will improve the care provided to adults with ASD, especially those with high levels of need.

DBHDD, which provides services for adults with severe forms of autism, works to ensure that all individuals served receive easy access to high-quality care. "The number of adults with autism spectrum disorder is expected to grow rapidly in the upcoming years," said Darlene Meador, PhD, director of strategy and special projects in the department’s Division of Developmental Disabilities. "This partnership is critical to identifying service gaps for adults with ASD who are, or will be, receiving these services." 

The Emory Autism Center, part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, is one of a small number of institutions in the country providing programs and services for adults living with autism. The goal of the EAC Adult Services Program is to help adults with an autism spectrum disorder learn skills necessary to prepare for their inclusive roles within their community. Support is provided to individuals in the areas of adaptive living skills, independent living arrangements, supported employment/education, social skills development and recreational opportunities.

Cubells is an associate professor in both the Department of Human Genetics and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory.

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