We Help People And Families Affected By Autism

Questions for Residential Service Providers

If you are helping an adult loved one with autism to select a residential placement, here is a list of suggested questions from parents who have been through the process before:

  • What ensures the person is treated with dignity and respect by the staff and as an individual?
  • Are the individual’s parents, relatives, friends, advocates, and other service providers – e.g., day services provider – encouraged to participate in the planning process? Do they and the person receiving services have a role in defining care, recreational, and other activities?
  • How are the individual’s parents, relatives, friends, advocates informed about the individual’s daily activities, successes, issues, and the like?
  • What are the staff ratios for the program?
  • Are the staff properly screened (police background and child abuse clearances, driving records, references)?
  • What kind of training do staff receive before they start providing services?
  • What kind of ongoing training do staff receive?
  • Are staff trained in ABA methods or other types  of behavioral supports?
  • Are staff trained in functional communication – e.g., PECS, ProLoquo2Go®?
  • How do staff handle aggressive behaviors?
  • What is the average length of staff tenure?
  • How long does it take for you to fill staffing vacancies?
  • How do you handle suggestions, complaints, or concerns from the individual receiving services or his/her family? Do you welcome suggestions?
  • Does the person receiving services or his/her parents, relatives, friends, or advocates play any role in hiring of staff who will be supporting him/her?
  • What comments or evaluations do you get from parents, relatives, friends, or advocates regarding how satisfied they are with the services you provide to their loved ones?
  • Are any of your behavioral analysts Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s)?[1]
  • Can we select another provider to provide behavior support services?
  • Are nursing services provided?
  • What support is provided for recreational activities? What kind of activities?
  • What kind of outings will the person go on? How frequently?
  • What support is provided for self-care such as showering, grooming, tooth-brushing?
  • Who decides what the person receiving services will eat? What say does the person receiving services have in the choice of food?
  • Is there a consulting dietician?
  • Who cooks the meals?
  • What kind of oversight does the provider report to? Are these reports available to caregivers/parents?
  • Can we access referrals from other caregivers and parents with their consent?
  • What is the staff turnover rate?
  • How are miscellaneous spending funds for the individual handled and accounted for?
  • How is transportation prioritized and arranged for the individual?

(You may have other questions specific to your own situation or that of your loved one.)

[1] Note that what DDDS calls a “behavior analyst” is more a case manager for a person who has other behavior supports. Few have ABA training or are BCBA’s.

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