When your child is diagnosed with autism, it can be overwhelming to know what to do or where to turn for support. To help you navigate your child’s diagnosis, Trumpet Behavioral Health’s intake specialists have created the following checklist based on their years of assisting families affected by autism. Read on to learn more about your next steps and how to help your child gain the treatment they deserve.
1. Take Time
First and foremost, take some time to process the information. As a parent, your first instinct may be to immediately jump into action, but giving yourself a short period of time to process your child’s diagnosis is an important part of your journey. During this time, research autism spectrum disorder from reputable sources, like Autism Speaks.
2. Research Treatment Options
Once you’ve taken the time to process your child’s treatment and research general autism-related information, it’s time to find the right autism treatment provider. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is an evidence-based treatment that’s recognized as the most effective form of autism therapy. As of 2019, all fifty states require insurance coverage for ABA therapy, but the level of coverage varies from state to state and type of health plan. This approach to therapy is endorsed by the US Surgeon General as well as several renowned organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the Autism Society of America, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
3. Schedule A Consultation
Take your time to find an ABA provider that matches the needs of your family and will be a long-term partner that will help your child progress throughout the continuum of care. Once you find an ABA treatment provider in your area, thoroughly research their clinical model and ensure it’s well-developed. Then, schedule a consultation to learn more and ask the following questions:
- What is the scope of your services?
- How are parents involved? Do you encourage them to participate?
- Do you provide regular treatment updates? How and when do those updates take place?
- How do you develop treatment recommendations?
- How do you determine the optimal setting of care based on my child’s needs?
- What support do you provide when we transition away from services?
- What is the grievance process like?
- What client rights do you uphold?
- What supports are in place to review your clinical quality and navigate ethical dilemmas?
4. Review Your Insurance Policy
Closely review your insurance policy or speak to your employer’s Human Resource team to determine your eligibility for ABA coverage, your deductible, and your shared cost. To support you through this process, see if your chosen ABA provider can help you understand your policy. At Trumpet Behavioral Health, our team of trained insurance specialists will advocate for you and ensure you’re maximizing the benefits of your policy.
5. Begin ABA Services
Once you’ve taken the time to carefully examine your treatment options and choose the ABA therapy provider that matches your family’s needs, your child should begin their treatment plan. With the right provider, you’ll be able to partner with your child’s therapy team and help your child set and achieve treatment goals.
6. Find Continued Support
ABA therapy is just the first step on your child’s journey with autism, and it’s important that you and your child have the support you need to keep going. Build up your support system by researching local parent groups, or check out Autism Speaks for upcoming events in your area. You may also want to contact your local school district for educational options and support.
If your child was recently diagnosed with autism, you’re not alone. At Trumpet Behavioral Health, we’re dedicated to becoming your family’s long-term partner and autism treatment provider. To learn more, contact us today.