Resources: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy), Autism Specialist, Behavior Intervention Therapy, Verbal Behavior (ABLLS and VBMAPP)

WHAT IS AUTISM?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.

Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role.

The term “Spectrum” in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptons and severity. It refers to the umbrella of diagnosis.

SYMPTOMS?

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.

Mayor areas of concerns are:

  • Social Unawareness
  • Limit Communication

TREATMENT?

The most research prove treatments are:

  • Early Intervention Services
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Speech and Language therapy
  • Verbal Behavior Therapy

INSURANCE COVERAGE

In reality, one of the best arguments in support of ABA-based therapy is the money it saves over the long run. In an Ohio State study, it was noted that if an individual with autism fails to gain independent living skills, he or she will require $6 million dollars of support through age of 50. Compare that to the typical cost of ABA-based intervention at $150,000. (Winerman, 2004). A 2007 Texas study demonstrated that if children with autism received three years of ABA-based behavioral therapy, it would save the state $208,500 per child over 18 years of education, or $2 billion for the 10,000 children identified statewide as having autism. (Chasson, Harris, and Neely, 2007). A more conservative study conducted in 2006 by the Harvard School of Public Health estimates that it requires $3.2 million to care for an individual with autism over a lifetime. The study also noted that it costs society an estimated $35 billion each year to care for all individuals with autism. (NCSL, 2012).

It is in fact the pervasiveness of Autism that is changing the landscapes. Very few people are not related to or associated with a family raising a child on the autism spectrum. ASD cuts across all environments, cultures, races, and economic classes. Every day we hear of another media star or political bigwig who is encountering autism first hand through his or her own child or children. Michigan was on the wrong list until the Lt Governor of the state who has a child with autism began to advocate.

Do you belong to a fully-funded or self-funded group health plan?

Many large companies provide employees with insurance that they fund directly rather than buying into a provider policy. Typically, they will employ a large insurance provider to administer their programs. In outward appearance, it looks no different than if you were covered by that provider. For example if United Health was administering the self-funded insurance, you would receive a United Health insurance card and submit all your claims through United Health. Smaller companies are beginning to employ self-insurance as well. It allows for insurance decisions to be truly consumer directed.

Self-funded insurance plans are not subject to state laws. They are federally regulated by Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Consequently, if you live in a state with an autism insurance mandate, that mandate does not apply to your policy

Self-Insured Companies with Autism Coverage

Self-insured companies represent a larger and growing segment of the employer health insurance market. In some states, self-insured companies are more prevalent. It has been reported that as much as 75 percent of Alaskans with health insurance are covered under self-insured plans. In, California the number is 25 percent. Companies that are self-insured are federally regulated and are not subject to state mandates. However, they have a wide number of options available as to what they will and will not cover.

Monarch Behavior Analysis strives to provide families with children with Autism and with other related disabilities convenient and useful information. Below is some useful information on Autism and related disabilities.

 

https://www.autismspeaks.org/                                                                                         http://nationalautismassociation.org/

http://www.coe.fau.edu/centersandprograms/card/

http://www.autism-society.org/                                                                                          https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

 

 

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