News  DDS April 2023 Newsletter

  • Department of Developmental Services
Graphic reading DDS News and Updates: April 2023

Autism Awareness Month at DDS

A Message from Commissioner Jane F. Ryder

Dear DDS Community,

As many of you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month, and we at DDS have been finding opportunities to celebrate our autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community throughout the month.

I hope some of you had the opportunity to join our "Spectrums of Success: Celebrating the Successes of the DDS ASD Community" program hosted by our Northeast region last week. I found myself inspired hearing folks with ASD share their professional and personal success stories and, in many cases, how the programs and staff at DDS have played a role in helping them to achieve these goals.

I was similarly inspired seeing DDS staff in our Springfield/Westfield Area Office wearing blue to show their support as they held their own Autism Awareness Day, and while attending a Statewide ASD Conference in Devens. DDS staff from across the Commonwealth gathered at this conference to think creatively about our ASD programs and services, and how we can continue to evolve and adapt our services to meet the needs of our community.

Since ASD became an eligible diagnosis for DDS in 2014, we have expanded our services to include adult autism services, our children's autism waiver program, and our seven Autism Support Centers which help thousands of families annually.

Our ASD population also continues to expand -- this year alone, DDS eligible ASD individuals increased by 18%. I'm happy to share that the Governor's House 1 budget for DDS in 2024 reflects this growth, increasing our adult autism funding by 24%.

I'm proud of the commitment to our ASD community that this funding increase demonstrates, and the ways that this will empower our agency to provide innovative and genuine opportunities for individuals with ASD to participate fully in, and contribute meaningfully to, their communities as valued members.


Commissioner Jane F. Ryder

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