Autism Program

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Autism News

The University of Texas, at the Request of the DARS Autism Program, Completes Research

7/2/2014: DARS contracted with the University of Texas to research evidence-based treatment modalities based on specific criteria, analyze the outcome date for children in the DARS program and make recommendations to DARS for changes to the Autism Program, which would result in serving more children while continuing to make a measurable improvement in their behavior and development.  The report and report summary completed by the University of Texas can be accessed at the links below.  View an accessible version of the report. | Autism Program Report Presentation

Texas Autism State Planning Grant Survey

6/9/2014: As part of the Texas Autism State Planning Grant funded by HRSA 13-200, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and its collaborators across the state are working with stakeholders to learn more about the needs of young Texans with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and to develop a statewide plan to address gaps in services. | More on Autism State Planning Grant

Autism Program Rules

Autism Services

The DARS Autism Program champions excellence in the delivery of services for families of children with autism. Services are provided through grant contracts with local community agencies and organizations that provide applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and other positive behavior support strategies. The program helps improve the quality of life for children on the autism spectrum and their families.

To be eligible for services under a DARS grant, a child must meet three criteria:

  • Be 3 through 8 years of age (children lose eligibility on their ninth birthday)
  • Have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum
  • Be a Texas resident

Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. Signs that a child may have an autism spectrum disorder include:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

Services in the DARS Autism program are provided by the following contractors around the state. Any Texas resident can apply for services at any of these provider's offices. You do not need to live in the service area to qualify for services; however, transportation and lodging costs are not covered by this program. For detailed information about family cost share and eligibility requirements, please contact the individual service provider directly.

Contractor Contact Information Counties Served Service Type
Autism Treatment Center Lauren Alvarado
(210) 599-7733
Bexar and surrounding counties Applied Behavior Analysis
Center for Autism and Related Disorders Jessica Scott
(512) 330-9520 ext. 21
Travis and surrounding counties Applied Behavior Analysis
Child Study Center Gwyn Kinney
(817) 390-2889
Tarrant Applied Behavior Analysis
Easter Seals North Texas Jennifer Friesen
(888) 617-7171 (toll free)
Dallas and Denton Applied Behavior Analysis
MHMRA of Harris County Margo Childs
(713) 970-8237
Harris Applied Behavior Analysis
Texana Center Ellen Catoe
(281) 239-1497
Matagorda, Wharton, Austin, Colorado, Waller,
Fort Bend, Harris, Galveston, Montgomery
Applied Behavior Analysis

Family Cost Share Calculator

The cost share calculator is used by the DARS Autism Program contractors to compute a family’s monthly cost share. The cost share calculator takes into account the:

  • total cost of a child’s services for a month (number of hours of service multiplied by the contractor’s hourly rate with DARS);
  • family’s annual income; and
  • size of the family (the sum of the number of custodial parents plus all minor siblings who reside in the home).

Annual Report


For Contractors