DARS Autism Program

picture of children

Public Hearing and Opportunity for Public Comment on Autism Program

The DARS Autism Program is seeking public input and written comments on potential changes to the program. The purpose of the public hearings is to gather input on a proposed plan to increase the number of children receiving autism services. Additional information regarding the specific changes to the program is now available. | More about Autism Program public hearings

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 Matt Robison
(817) 390-2882
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

Autism Program Rules

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).



For Contractors