We have remained somewhat silent in the fight for SB57, the bill introduced by Senator Brian E. Shiozawa to require insurance coverage for assessment, intervention, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Indeed, as have many others, we have become increasingly disenchanted with the national organization that seems to be loudest voice in the room, drowning out diverse ideas; wielding it’s power to drive specific treatments/ research objectives, and encouraging people to walk around in circles (literally) raising money from folks in the trenches to pay for a lot of expensive and highly compensated bureaucracy.
The drumbeat of advocacy for BCBA autism treatment coverage in Utah has been pounding away for nearly 5 years and in that time, autism advocates have earned some ground, (Utah Medicaid Waiver for ABA) but not enough to even touch the growing need for interventions and support services in a state where the autism prevalence rate is 1:47 children, 1:24 boys. Further, ABA is not right for every child. Families need to be given choices about which treatment modalities will be implemented, as the intervention will be powerfully shaping the child’s formation of relationships, learning style and character. Our children, Madeline and Caleb made profound progress in relating and communicating through participation in The Play Project, a program being utilized by Baby Watch Early Intervention at Utah State University, Center for Persons with Disabilities. “Developed by Dr. Solomon, P.L.A.Y. is a practical, family-friendly application of renowned child psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based (DIR) framework, popularly known as Floortime. Through structured monthly home visits focused on modeling, coaching and video feedback, consultants train parents to engage their child with autism in ways that promote emotional connection and communication. By training parents to participate in their child’s intervention, the program also promises to be cost-effective. The P.L.A.Y. Project costs under $4,000 per year, in comparison with other interventions that cost $40,000 to $60,000 per year.”
It changed the outcome of our children’s future – anecdotal to be sure, but no less real for them and for us. Read the results of the Play Project Pilot study here and further research support for play-based therapy here.
It has come to our attention that a recent amendment has been passed to open the treatment modalities to be covered by insurance as long as as that person has the appropriate credentials for service provision. The HERO amendment looks like this:
45 (ii) provided or supervised by a
46 (A) board certified behavior analyst; or
47 (B) licensed psychologist so long as the services performed are commensurate with the
48 psychologist’s formal university training and supervised experience. }
We believe DIRFloortime and other developmental interventions should be financially accessible to all families in Utah. We applaud those responsible for this MONUMENTAL change and are ready to ask everyone we know to support SB57… for such a time as this.