When you suspect your child has a developmental delay, you do a great deal of research on the topic. If you’ve received a diagnosis, you then do even more research on treatment and interventions.
At some point, you will face the reality that payment for these services is a factor, so obtaining assistance in reviewing your insurance policy may become a reality for you.
Find out if your child’s pediatrician can help you obtain referrals, and then check with your insurance company to determine how these referrals are handled. Is there a list of preferred providers you must use?
Do you have a case manager assigned to your child’s care? Is there supplementary health insurance available for children with disabilities?
Call your insurance company to make sure you have the most current information on your coverage, and call again to find out who the case manager (the person who will oversee your child’s care) is and how best to contact him or her.
Find out if Medicaid covers any of the services your child may receive, or if your child qualifies for Early Intervention services (no-cost or low-cost treatment services mandated by Congress).
Investigate your state’s assistance programs, often offered through the Division of Medical Assistance or Department of Health and Human Services.
When you’re faced with a diagnosis of autism and the care that follows, the last thing you want to face is wondering how the services your child needs will be covered.
Just as you’ve educated yourself about so many aspects of autism, you should educate yourself about your health insurance coverage as well.
More information available at the sites below.
Research has found that early intervention for children with autism can have a profound impact on their outcomes.
Early intervention consists of treatments and therapies in which children participate after they have been diagnosed with autism. Since most diagnoses are made by the time a child is age 3, early intervention is not just early post-diagnosis, but early in the child’s life as well.
Social and communication skills are the focus of many early intervention techniques.
One early intervention is known as applied behavioral analysis. Based on B. F. Skinner’s work, applied behavioral analysis works much like positive reinforcement.
A verbal or physical stimulus (such as a request or command) is made of a child, and the child’s behavior results in the form of a response, or lack thereof.
The response, in turn, elicits a consequence, which can include positive reinforcement of the response, or no consequence for negative behavior. This intervention technique works to enhance a child’s communication and social interaction skills.
Pivotal response therapy is a therapy that is used to increase social, academic, and communication skills; the “pivotal” reference is core behaviors that affect a range of other behaviors.
The therapy is child-directed in that the child decides what activities may be part of the intervention. So, for instance, if a child attempts to communicate that he wants to swing on a swing, and then he’s rewarded with that activity.
The goal here is to improve the child’s communication as well as play and social skills.
Strengthening poor communication skills is a goal of autism intervention. Verbal behavior therapy works to help children verbalize their needs and desires.
So, for example, if a child learns to say “cup,” then he or she wants a drink from a cup. When the child is given the cup in response to the request, the word is reinforced. The child then learns to use words to obtain objects.
Floortime is a therapy that synthesizes several skills in a play-like setting.
Parents or the therapist shares activities with the child and gets down on the floor with him or her to meet the child where he or she is, both developmentally and in a literal, physical sense.
The focus here is not on speech, motor, or cognitive skills as discrete skills, but rather the confluence of these skills.
Floortime emphasizes emotional development as well. During floortime, engaging with the child and moving the child toward more complex interactions helps the child to communicate.
Early, appropriate intervention can significantly increase the social, emotional, and language skills of a child with autism. To read more about early intervention techniques, visit How Do I Get The Help My Child Needs?