The founding families who launched Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children, Inc. (CSAAC) in 1979 saw a future where adults with autism lived, worked and played in the community, where they were not limited by the walls and restrictions of institutions. Headquartered in Montgomery County, Maryland, CSAAC is a private, non-profit agency which provides direct services to children and adults diagnosed with autism across their lifespan.
CSAAC is a nationally recognized leader in developing state-of-the-art services for people with autism and serves as a model for other agencies developing community-based housing, employment, educational and early intervention services. CSAAC’s Supported Employment program was the first of its kind in the United States and, today, enables many CSAAC individuals to perform jobs within the community and at over 60 different employment locations, including TJ Maxx, Todd Allen Printing, Shoppers Food Warehouse, and The Home Depot. In addition to its robust supported employment program, CSAAC currently operates 52 community living residences for 144 residents throughout Montgomery County, a 10 acre school site for children aged 6 through 21, an early intervention program for newly diagnosed toddlers and children to age 7. Across all programs, CSAAC serves nearly 300 families impacted by autism.
To enable individuals with autism to achieve their highest potential and contribute as confident members of their community.
In 1980, CSAAC developed one of the first supported employment services in the nation. Within the fourth year of operation, CSAAC was accredited by the ACMRDD, now The Council on Quality and Leadership. The Community School of Maryland was developed in 1983 as an alternative to out of state institutional school placement. CSAAC’s model of providing residential supports to students in homes, including students as part of the community at large, and where possible providing supports so they can attend classes in regular schools and take part in local recreation was the first community-integrated residential school model for students with autism in Maryland.
In the eighties, CSAAC led the way in the development of positive behavioral methods. Dr. Marcia Smith’s work at CSAAC led to publication of numerous articles treating behaviors associated with autism using positive methodology. Brookes Publishing Company has published books by Dr. Smith on Community Living, Supported Employment and Transitional strategies. In 1986, CSAAC received a federal model program grant which allowed CSAAC to refine is supported employment services. In 1987, the National Association for Private Residential Facilities presented CSAAC with their national award for Residential Program of the Year. By 1988, CSAAC was selected to train agencies throughout the country courtesy of an additional United States Department of Education grant. CSAAC staff hosted site visits and in-service training to agencies across the nation to assist sister agencies to initiate supported employment services to people with autism.
Replications and partial replications of CSAAC were initiated in New York, Kansas City, Seattle, Boston, Austin, St. Louis, and other cities. During the period through the early nineties, CSAAC received five federal research, model program and training grants. In 1991, CSAAC was selected by The Council as its first recipient of the Award of Excellence.
Beginning in the early 90’s and continuing today, CSAAC hosts officials from several foreign countries seeking a model for community services for people with autism still living in institutions in their countries. Sweden chose the CSAAC model and sent teams from Stockholm and Orebro, including members of their parliament and city councils to spend weeks with CSAAC. In 1994 and 1995, CSAAC began investigating the best outcome reports from UCLA Psychologist, Dr. Ivar Lovaas who was working with toddlers and young children. CSAAC staff trained at UCLA wrote grants and developed an agreement with Dr. Lovaas for post-doctoral training of psychologists in Early Intervention at UCLA. This process began what was to become CSAAC’s Intensive Early Intervention Services in 1995. CSAAC was selected to be one of the few replication sites in UCLA’s National Institute of Mental Health Research Grant.
The new millennium has brought grow, expansion and more growth to CSAAC as the number of children and adults who were being supported surged. Innovative and individualized programming became the hallmarks of the organization.
CSAAC is committed to personal outcomes and person-centered planning with personal choice evident in all areas. Plans reflect person-centered approaches and personal goals.Â Individuals take part in planning and decisions, selections of staff and people choose where they live, work and play. Resources are allocated and sought to make hopes and dreams a reality. CSAAC staff, board members and families have embraced personal choice and outcomes and are committed to protect the rights of all people with disabilities.
CSAAC services are licensed by the State of Maryland and Montgomery County Government, and approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.
You can download CSAAC brochure by clicking on the PDF link below
Organizational Brochure- http://www.csaac.org/attached%20files/brochure2014.pdf
Learn the Signs, Act Early (for diagnosing autism in young children
Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers
Autism Society of America
Board of Directors