Adults with Autism in Residential Settings: Differences among Districts and Projections for 2015

As part of a broader effort to plan social services, the Ministry of Social Affairs asked the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute to prepare a projection of needs for residential living of the autistic population in Israel in 2015. The paper was commissioned as a basis for planning the extent and geographic distribution of services.

The projection was based on trends in the development of utilization patterns by age during recent years (2000-2009),during which there was a dramatic increase (nearly fourfold) in the overall number of residents in these settings, an increase that continued and even accelerated during the past three years. The report also presents a comparison between the number of people in residential settings in various districts and sub-districts at present, in order to examine the need to reduce the gaps between districts.

The comparison reveals that there are very large differences among sub-districts and among the districts themselves. The ratio between the number of people in residential settings and the overall number of community-dwelling people recognized as autistic by social services ranges between 55% in the Sharon sub-district to 3% in the Ramla sub-district. There are also significant differences in the rate per 100,000 residents.

In order to estimate the need in 2015 for residential settings, we used 3 different methods, resulting in a range of possibilities regarding the expected number of places for residents that will be required in 2015. Based on these methods, we present three projections, all of which reveal a significant increase in the need for residential settings. The first two projections are based on average increase rates (in different periods). The third projection is based on the radical assumption that the accelerated growth of recent years will continue. This assumption results in a higher projection.

The projections for the overall number of required places for residents in 2015 range from 1,661 to 2,534, depending on the different methods, i.e. an increase of between 169% to 310%. This future increase is not surprising, considering the significant increase in needs in recent years.

The findings and projections were presented to the director general and senior staff of the Ministry of Social Affairs and are being used to formulate policy regarding residential settings for the autistic population in Israel and as a basis for developing projections for additional services.

The study was funded with the assistance of the Mandell Berman Fund for Research on Children with Disabilities.