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Statewide Autism Programs Move to Department of Education


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Delaware Department of Education

January 18, 2023 - The Delaware Office of Statewide Autism Programs is now part of the Delaware Department of Education.

The office, once known as the Delaware Autism Program, provides support to students with an educational classification of autism.  Christina School District formerly administered the state-funded program.  The Delaware General Assembly made the change through epilogue language. 

The move, which took effect Jan. 1, 2023, brings Director Mary Whitfield and two training specialists (one position is vacant) to a newly created Autism Resources Workgroup on the department’s Academic Support Team.  The Autism Resources Workgroup will collaborate with the department’s Exceptional Children’s Resources Workgroup, which supports students with disabilities, including autism.

“As a statewide program, moving the office to a state agency just makes sense.  The change allows us to better coordinate with other state supports and programs so ultimately we can better serve our children with autism,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said. 

The Autism Resources Workgroup will continue to provide training and technical assistance on evidence-based educational programming to public school teams who support students with autism so these students can become productive, socially connected, and personally fulfilled members of the community.  It will continue to provide school teams with the knowledge and abilities to develop academic, daily living, social, and vocational skills in students with autism, as well as support families with the development of these skills when working with students at home. 

The Delaware Office of Statewide Autism Programs previously administered a respite program as part of its services.  As of Jan. 1, pediatric respite is now available through the state’s Medicaid program.