Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about The ACRES Project. If your question isn't addressed here, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Q. Do I have to have a formal diagnosis or "paperwork" to attend ACRES?
A. No. We understand that some individuals who identify with the autism/neurodivergent community, especially women, may have never had a formal diagnosis and that some individuals do not wish to have one. Programs funded by The ACRES Project, including our social groups, do not require "proof" of diagnosis for participation. The only exceptions are employment training and self-advocacy programs funded by Pennsylvania state agencies; as these agencies require documentation of disability from participants.
Q. I'm an adult and suspect that I am on the autism spectrum. How can I get evaluated for a formal diagnosis?
A. There are several clinics in the State College/Central PA area which provide autism testing for adults. Please refer to this page for a list of local testing options (updated as of 8/16/22).
Note that psychological testing is not covered by all health insurance plans and that some require prior authorization, so please check with your health plan about specific coverage before scheduling. Many providers also have a waitlist, so we recommend scheduling an appointment far in advance.
Current or incoming Penn State students seeking a proof of diagnosis in order to receive academic accommodations through PSU’s Student Disability Resources must notify the psychologist when setting up their appointment (before the test) as the university requires specific steps and documentation.
Q. How much do your programs cost?
A. The vast majority of our programs are free to participants and their families thanks to the generous support of community grants and donations! We want our programs to be accessible to everybody who needs them. Programs which utilize a lot of resources or staff may have a small fee.
Q. How is The ACRES Project funded?
A. As an independent nonprofit, we rely on private donations and fundraisers for roughly 80% of our annual funding. Each donation makes a big difference and is very appreciated.
Q. How many people are helped by The ACRES Project?
A. In 2022, The ACRES Project hosted 13 different programs and supported over 200 people thanks to one amazing community!
Q. What does the term "neurodivergent" mean?
A."Neurodivergent" is an informal, inclusive, non-medical term referring to individuals whose brains develop or work differently. This means that they have different strengths and struggles than people whose brains develop or work more typically. People with autism, ADHD, developmental or learning differences, and other neurological/mental health diagnoses may all be described as neurodivergent, as well as people who do not have a medical diagnosis but strongly identify as neurodivergent. More and more individuals and organizations are using this terminology because it's a neutral term which frames neurological differences as a form of human diversity, not strictly as disability.