Howard County has the highest incidence of autism per capita in the state owing to the quality of its special education and support services. There are more than 5300 students in special education; 15% of that population has an autism spectrum disorder. The state rate is 10.6%. Nationally the prevalence over the past four decades has quadrupled and today is estimated at 1 in 59 births by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The overall rate in Maryland is about 1 in 50. Boys are affected five times more than girls.
Many families move to Howard County because 1) we have some of the best early intervention services in the state or 2) the school system is better at including children with autism than some of the other counties in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area.
This page provides links to some of the more significant official resources in the county that are of use to families dealing with autism. We have also, courtesy of the Autism Society of South Carolina, adapted a guide to autism with local resources and other informational materials. We also have separate pages describing Early Intervention, Grade School through College Education, and currently under construction is a page on other services (respite, family support,. housing, etc). .
As historical notes, this page also has links to the parent White Paper on Early Intervention, which was part of the process of advocating for our current services, and a paper Advocacy for Systems Change that describes what actually happened to get us where we are now
Brochures and Resource Guides:
Information on Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Resource for Howard County Families Receiving a Diagnosis or New to the County
Protecting the Child or adult with autism: a guide for parents and caregivers
Links to Howard County Official sites and committees:
PTA Council of Howard County
Howard County Community Advisory Committee on Special Education
Howard County Public Schools Special Education Department
Howard County Public Schools
Howard County Government
Howard County Recreation & Parks – Information on Services for Persons With Disabilities
A Little History:
The parent proposal to the board of Education (parents’ White Paper, Part II,1998) for expanding the autism program for young children
Advocacy For Systems Change (1999), describing the advocacy process here from 1996-8