New Autism Resource for Children

A new resource is available for families of children with autism in Iowa. Known as the Autism Support Program, or “ASP,” the program pays for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for families of children under age 9 diagnosed with autism–families who were previously unable to access these services through Medicaid or private health insurance.

Representative Dave Heaton championed this new funding stream and led a strong bipartisan effort to get it done. “To see what these children and their families are going through would drive anyone to do what they can to help. With the right kinds of help, we can turn these challenges around and really help these kids.”

Without this new funding stream, many families would be unable to access these vital ABA services that can truly make a difference in the life of a child with autism. Families like Stacy and Kevin Trees.

“We fell in that hopeless zone,” stated Stacy Trees. “We didn’t make enough to pay out of pocket (for ABA services), our private insurance did not cover any autism therapies and our son didn’t qualify for Medicaid.” Stacy and Kevin Trees have an 8-year-old son who had been on the waiting list for ABA services at The Homestead since May of 2013. Now–with funding through the Autism Support Program–they were finally able to access these needed services in May of this year.

“(ASP) is a total child service,” added Trees. “Support is given not only to our son but also to our entire family, our home life and our child’s school.”

The Autism Support Program is the result of state legislation aimed at addressing the need for autism services for families with limited access to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Families must meet specified income guidelines (up to 400% of the federal poverty level) and may need to share up to 10% of the costs of services provided.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) employs learning strategies to improve important behaviors, such as teaching a child to communicate, expanding play, and building meaningful social interactions. Research shows that ABA may eliminate the symptoms of autism for more than 40-50% of those who receive the treatment and alleviate the symptoms for up to 90% when provided intensively at an early age.

To find out if your family is eligible for these new autism services, please contact The Homestead’s Admissions Director, Dan Budd, at 515-957-3344 or DBudd@TheHomestead.org. You may also visit Magellan’s website: www.MagellanofIowa.com and click on “Benefits and Services” across the top menu. Then click on Autism Support Program for an application and instructions on how to apply.

Another resource is the Iowa Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) of the Child Health Specialty Clinics of the University of Iowa: http://www.chsciowa.org/regional-autism-assistance-program.asp. RAP provides care coordination and family-to-family support for any family caring for a child 0-21 years of age who presents with concerns or a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). RAP teams are available to help families apply for the Autism Support Program and also assist families who do not qualify for the fund to connect them to ASD services in their community.