Education is Understanding
Autism education and research is constantly expanding. With so much information at your fingertips it can be either helpful or intimidating. Below you’ll find the most up-to-date and relevant resources exploring the basics of Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Funding concerns.
- 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.
- Diagnostic Criteria: The CDC has listed the new diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder here as defined by The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Autism Red Flags in Toddlers
Red flags, as shown below indicate that a child should be evaluated by a professional.
Impairment in Social Interaction:
- Lack of appropriate eye gaze
- Lack of warm, joyful expressions
- Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
- Lack of response to name
Impairment in Communication:
- Lack of showing gestures
- Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
- Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm,unusual voice quality)
Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:
- Repetitive movements with objects
- Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers
Wetherby, A., Woods, J., Allen, L., Cleary, J., Dickinson, H., & Lord, C. (2004). Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473-493. Based on research at the Florida State University FIRST WORDS® Project.
If you have concerns about your child, you may contact your pediatrician or consider an outside evaluation or assessment.
- The Yale Child Study Center has a Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic and a Developmental Disabilities Clinic (for children 3 and over) that can evaluate and assist families in understanding concerns. Please contact Evelyn Pomichter at (203) 764-5933 for intake or questions.
- The Yale Child Study Center also conducts studies in the field of autism. They are currently recruiting for infants under the age of 6 months and for toddlers from 12-24 months who may or may not show signs of developmental delays. There are many benefits to participation that include guidance and recommendations for early intervention if there is a concern. Please contact Evelyn Pomichter at (203) 764-5933 for questions or to participate.
Learning that your child has Autism can feel overwhelming. Autism Speaks has created a kit to assist families in getting the critical information they need in the first 100 days after a diagnosis. Click here for your free kit.
What is it?
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders defines Behavior Analysis as the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.
Over the past 40 years, several thousand published research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA. Autism Speaks has more information and has compiled research on the effectiveness of ABA here.
Laws in Connecticut
- A law passed in 2009 and amended in 2011 now requires all group health insurance policies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Treatments must be medically necessary and identified and ordered by a licensed physician, psychologist or clinical social worker in accordance with a treatment plan. Treatments may include behavioral therapy, prescription drugs, psychiatric services, psychological services, physical therapy, speech and language pathology services and occupational therapy. Coverage for behavioral therapy may be limited to $50,000 per year for a child who is less than nine years of age, $35,000 for a child who is at least nine years of age and less than 13 years of age, and $25,000 for a child who is at least 13 years of age and less than 15 years of age. The policy may not impose limits on the number of visits to an autism services provider.
- For more information, click here to go to ct.gov site with more information
Some families chose to pay privately for services or pay out of pocket and then seek reimbursement from their health insurance company.
School districts are required to provide services for school age children with a “free and appropriate education” which may include providing ABA therapy as determined by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Please contact us for more information on how we can help support your child in their home school district.