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TSS As Aide in Pennsylvania


In Pennsylvania, a child with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may qualify for behavioral health services through Medical Assistance and may be provided with a TSS - Therapeutic Support Staff - who, in some instances, may go to preschool or school with the child. A TSS is never allowed to deliver specialized instruction to a student and can only serve the functions of a personal care assistant.

One advantage for the school district in using a TSS is that the TSS is paid for by Medical Assistance and not by special education funds. However, some school districts do not like to use a TSS to satisfy the requirement of a personal care assistant in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is because a TSS is responsible to his or her employer - the behavioral health agency - and not the school district. If the TSS does not show up to school, the school may be out of compliance with the IEP if it does not find a replacement. Yet the school may not know that the TSS will be absent until the school day has already begun, which may be too late to find a substitute.

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.