“My child is a person who wants to be understood, not fixed.”

The Whole Self Center is a Maryland Medical Assistance Autism Waiver Provider

The Maryland Medical Assistance Autism Waiver Program has been in existence since July 2001 and waives certain income requirements for children and adolescents with autism and their families so that they can be eligible to receive home and community-based services to help them function with greater independence.

  • There is no cost to parents whose children and adolescents are receiving services while enrolled on Autism Waiver.
  • “The Waiver,” as it’s commonly called, must be reviewed for quality and compliance by the federal government every 3 to 5 years.
  • Continued funding is dependent upon the result of the renewal process as well as the availability of federal funding and those funds matched by the state.
  • As of 2013, The Waiver is funded to provide services to 1,000 individuals, referred to as “Waiver participants”.
  • Each participant is reviewed on an annual basis to assure that they still meet the eligibility standards or requirements.
  • Each autism waiver participant is then also eligible to receive Medical Assistance as well.
  • There are approximately 4,000 individuals on the waiting list beyond the 1,000 individuals being served.
You can read an overview of all Medical Assistance Home and Community-Based Waiver (HCBW) programs here, and you can learn in great detail about The Autism Waiver by reading the 2009 – 2014 Renewal Application for federal financial support for the Maryland’s HCBW for Autism at Click Here. The application was written under the auspices of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which states that the purpose of the Home and Community Based Waiver for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is to provide services and supports to children with autism to enable them to remain safely in their home and community.

Another useful document to read is “Maryland’s Autism Waiver: a Practical Guide for Families” at Click Here. To illustrate the continued evolution of the waiver, see the “Notice of Proposed Action” at Click Here.

These documents are intended for those parents and interested parties who want to understand the extensive degree to which the Autism Waiver is regulated. The entire list of regulations can be found by going to the following search engine: Click Here. In the search field enter: 10.09.56 You will be able to read every chapter of the regulations by clicking them individually from through

The goals for the Autism Waiver are:

  • Keeping children with autism safe in their home and community;
  • Improving the quality of life for families of children with autism;
  • Providing quality services to maximize a child’s capacity for independence;
  • Providing quality services to support and develop functional and adaptive skills; and
  • Providing quality services to reduce maladaptive behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism or exhibit behaviors which may lead the child to be diagnosed with autism call the Autism Registry to place their child on the waiting list.

  • The phone number for the Autism Waiver Registry is 866-417-3480.
  • Parents will receive a registry confirmation, but because roughly 10% of the 1,000 slots become available each year, it could take several years before an opening occurs.
  • Once a slot does open, parents are notified in numerical order. At which time, parents are directed to complete an Autism Waiver application.
Children who apply are assessed by a multidisciplinary team to determine how the degree their autistic behaviors affect their daily living. There are particular qualifications that focus on daily functioning and whether an individual needs intensive support are necessary for individuals to become participants of any Home and Community-Based Waiver Services. Once qualified for The Waiver, the child is given a Plan of Care that outlines the types of services agreed upon by the family. A service coordinator conducts a risk assessment to ensure the individual can be safely managed in a home and community-based setting utilizing Autism Waiver services.

Once enrollment into The Waiver is established, the service coordinator gives parents the list of Autism Waiver providers so the parent can decide which agency will serve their child and family.

  • Parents tell us that they are pleased to know that we are one of the larger Autism Waiver agencies – serving 10% of all the waiver participants in the state.
  • Parents are aware the we have a proven track record of doing all we can to find the right staff for their family and that we do all we can to support the staff to stay and learn with their child.
  • Though we encourage families to interview other providers before they make their final decision, we are happy to discuss possibilities of how we might work to be the best fit for their family