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“In the Driver’s Seat”: Parent Perceptions of Choice in a Participant-Directed Medicaid Waiver Program for Young Children with Autism

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This study investigated families’ experience of choice within a participant-directed Medicaid waiver program for young children with autism. Fourteen parents or grandparents participated in in-depth interviews about their experience of choosing personnel, directing in-home services, and managing the $25,000 annual allocation. Key findings included families’ preference to hire providers with whom they have a prior relationship, parent empowerment and differences of opinion about parents as teachers. Professionals implementing participant directed service models could benefit from understanding the strong value parents’ placed on the personalities and interpersonal skills of providers. Parents’ descriptions of directing rather than merely accepting autism services revealed increased confidence in their ability to choose and manage the multiple components of their children’s HCBS autism waiver program.

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Preparation of this manuscript was supported with a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HRSA, grant number R40MC15598.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Maria T. Timberlake.

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Timberlake, M.T., Leutz, W.N., Warfield, M.E. et al. “In the Driver’s Seat”: Parent Perceptions of Choice in a Participant-Directed Medicaid Waiver Program for Young Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 903–914 (2014).

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