Articles To Help Guide Your Journey

Article: Breaking Barriers
Writer's Image

Arizona leads the way – Let Kym help you Navigate the Path!

Source: Autism Now News

Finding funding for autism programs and services can be a daunting task for many individuals and families. Thankfully, Arizona is an amazing state with several funding options available to help pay for autism programs. As an Autism Mom who has lived in different states, I can personally tell you how life changing the resources in Arizona are for special needs families! Some states have waiting lists of up to 10 years long for individuals with special needs to get the help they need, but here in Arizona it’s a completely different story, families can be fully funded in a matter of months. Here are some of the most common funding options in Arizona that make this state one of the absolute best states in the country for families to live in who have special needs children.

Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD):

Applying to the Division of Developmental Disabilities is the first step in receiving services here in Arizona. This program is available to individuals 3 years old and above. However, it is important to note that having a diagnosis does not automatically qualify you. DDD alone only covers support coordination. You MUST qualify for both DDD and ALTCS to receive services.

In order to be eligible for DDD, you must:

  • Be a resident of Arizona
  • Be at risk of having a developmental disability (before the age of 6); after the age of 6, you must have a diagnosis of: Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome or Cognitive Disability
  • Must be diagnosed before the age of 18
  • Must have functional limitations in 3 of 7 major life areas: self-care, receptive/expressive language, learning, mobility, independent living, self-direction or economic self-sufficiency

Useful Links:


  • The Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) is Arizona’s statewide interagency system of services and supports for families of infants and toddlers, birth through two years of age, with disabilities or delays. AzEIP provides eligible children and their families access to services by improving the ability of families and caretakers to help the child grow and thrive.

Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS):

ALTCS is for individuals with disabilities who require long-term care services, including those with autism. ALTCS is the Federal Medicaid funding source to pay for the services that DDD coordinates. ALTCS is part of AHCCCS. Once you have been approved for ALTCS, you will be asked to select a health plan through Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Eligibility is determined based on disability and financial need.

ALTCS must process your application within 45 days. When applying for ALTCS there will be:

  • Financial Interview – this is usually a phone interview with a series of questions to make sure your child does not have more than $2,000 in their name.
  • PAS Interview – this is done in person in your home with a series of questions about your child and their development. You must have 40 points in order to qualify. As a parent or guardian we tend to provide positive information about our child. This is not the time do so. When answering questions if the child cannot complete the task without prompts (including verbal reminders) then the answer should be No he or she cannot complete the task without assistance. Examples of PAS Tool questions and links are listed below.
  • Once you have been approved for ALTCS, you will be asked to select a health plan through Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). This will then become your secondary insurance if you have Primary Care Insurance. You will have 30 days from approval to choose your plan and have the option to change your plan annually. Please read the new members handbook and check your current doctors in each plan before making your selection.

Useful Links

What does DDD/ALTCS cover?

Again, DDD alone only covers support coordination. You MUST qualify for both DDD and ALTCS to receive services.

Medicaid (AHCCCS):

Arizona's Medicaid program, known as AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), provides healthcare coverage for eligible individuals, including children and adults with autism.

Private Health Insurance:

Arizona’s Autism Insurance Reform Act is one of the most significant laws in the state. This law mandates that health insurance plans cover the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. This includes ABA, speech, and occupational therapy, as well as other medically necessary therapies. It also bans insurance companies from setting arbitrary age restrictions or visitation restrictions for autism services.

Have questions on finding funding?

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

ESA is administered by Arizona’s Department of Education which is funded by state tax dollars to provide educational options for qualified Arizona students.   The amount of the ESA depends primarily on the child’s disability, as listed in the child’s Arizona public school IEP or MET report.

You can learn more at the ESA website by clicking here: ESA or calling them directly at 602-364-1969

Student Tuition Organizations

STOs receive tax credit donations from individuals and corporations for the purpose of granting scholarships to eligible students for private school tuition costs. STOs award scholarships under four different programs: The Original, The Switcher / Overflow Tax Credit, The Disabled / Displaced, and The Low Income Corporate. A student may receive a scholarship from more than one STO, however some have limitations and exclusions.


Not in Arizona?

  • Out Of State Applicants

    Autism Academy’s Online Program for students residing out of state:

    1. Arizona’s ESA program and Arizona STOs are only available for students living in Arizona.
    2. Many states have options for families who wish to send their children to a private school but need assistance with tuition costs. Check out the links below or your local resources to see what options are available in your state!

    For more information about funding options, please contact our Funding Department at or 480-525-6197 ext. 114.

Help is here for you!

What's the AAED difference?

The Autism Academy for Education and Development specializes in providing quality instruction to all students on the Autism Spectrum, Kindergarten to 12th grade. We provide video tutorials for your viewing purposes to promote exposure and circulate detailed information easily. Watch our videos by visiting our YouTube page and learn more about the great experiences students are gaining at our campuses located in the East Valley, West Valley, Tucson area and online!

Autism Academy YouTube