DHS Provides Innovation and Best Practices in Supporting Adults with Autism (June 14, 2022)

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has released the latest issue of the Positive Approaches Journal, which aims to provide the most recent research and resources for people with mental health and behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities to live an everyday life. This edition focuses on innovation and best practices in supporting adults with autism.

“DHS is committed to making a future that truly includes individuals with autism as fully integrated members of our communities. We work every day to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have what they need so they can live everyday lives, and I hope that the research and articles in this edition of the Positive Approaches Journal will be useful to anyone working to achieve that goal,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead.

Articles in this issue highlight issues facing adults with autism, and this edition features research and articles on the following:

  • Data Discoveries: This addition to the issue details the data-driven Life on the Spectrum workshop series, led by self-advocates with autism.
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation for Autistic Adults: Pilot Program Development: This article details the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Western Behavioral Health Psychiatric Rehabilitation (PR) program used to serve autistic adults and outlines the successes and opportunities of the program.
  • Autistic and Transgender: Support at the Intersection: This article addresses the needs of autistic and transgender individuals through evidence-based intervention, clinical experience, and lived experience and details the support needs of this community.
  • A Reflection on Retirement from Someone on the Autism Spectrum: A Commonwealth employee of 29 years recounts his experience working for DHS and details his transition to retirement.
  • Enhancements of Identification and Service Delivery to Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Needs within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC): This article outlines the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC’s) Psychology Office’s updates to identifying and treating neurodevelopmental disorders beyond intellectual disabilities, including those individuals living with autism spectrum disorder.
  • What Comes Next? Creating Programs and Understanding Priorities for Autistic Adults as They Age: This article details how Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs is a national leader in models and services for Pennsylvanians with autism.
  • Reliability of the Temple University Community Participation Measure with Adults with Autism: This article examines a tool developed by Temple University that measures the community participation of adults on the autism spectrum.

The journal is a collaboration of DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs and Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and collects resources, observations, and advancements in mental and behavioral health in order to better serve people in their communities.

Click to read this edition of the Positive Approaches Journal.