Children with autism display a variety of unique behaviors. Some behaviors charm us. One upstanding character I met last week proudly reported that he’d memorized all of the U.S. presidents plus special facts about each one. Then he proceeded to tell me 3 facts about 3 presidents. Other behaviors are not so charming and can be disruptive and dangerous. Two particularly daunting behaviors families affected by autism contend with are pica and elopement. Pica refers to the ingestion of non-food items. Elopement occurs when a child runs or wanders away from safe, supervised environments. Why do these behaviors occur and why are they so difficult to treat?
This is the first of a 2-part series for families tackling these difficult behaviors. Starting with pica, we’ll cover the Read full post »
1) Is there a particular medication or medications to treat autism (to address the core deficits of autism)?
No, currently there is no medication that treats the core deficits or characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (such as speech delays, poor social skills, repetitive behaviors). Medication is aimed at reducing associated symptoms (such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, anxiety, depression, irritability, tantrums, aggression, self-injury) that interfere with functioning.
2) How is the decision made to try medication?
The decision to try medication should be made carefully and involve thorough discussion and assessment. The first step is to identify the target symptoms and determine their impact on daily functioning. If the symptom/behavior is new, it is important to first rule out a medical cause for the behavior (such as illness, headache, constipation, reflux, Read full post »
ARNPs at Seattle Children’s Autism Center
When my children were young, they were patients of a large pediatric practice. It was sometimes difficult to get a same-day appointment with a doctor, so when I was offered one with a nurse practitioner (NP), I took it. This was my first experience with an ARNP and it opened my eyes to all that this medical professional has to offer.
NPs are an integral part of our team at Seattle Children’s Autism Center (SCAC). For more information about them, I turned to Lindsey Miller, ARNP for background on the education and training that is required. Read full post »
Medicaid and ABA
It has been a year now since Medicaid and a handful of private insurers began covering Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for their clients in Washington State. As expected with an endeavor of this size, there have been challenges with implementation. We have been tracking some of the more common issues that have arisen and offer this blog to help provide guidance for those seeking ABA services for their child.
While parents haven’t reported much difficulty in getting the order needed for insurers, getting approval from some insurers and then accessing services have been problematic for many. Read full post »
So you’ve gotten through the diagnostic evaluation and survived. You’ve been given your resource guide, your First 100 Days kit, and an abundance of online support and education resources. You may have been told that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the few evidence-based treatments for autism and that Medicaid and other insurance companies are now covering ABA for children with autism, so consider starting a home program to augment the services received in school.
So where does a parent begin?
My experience as a parent of a child who receives ABA services is that it isn’t as easy as making a phone call or two. There’s a learning curve in understanding what this therapy is, how it might benefit your child, how to access it, and how to live with it. Times have changed a great deal in the thirteen years since my son was diagnosed at age 3. At that time there was no insurance coverage for ABA or any other kind of therapy in the home, providers were scarce, and it was hard to know how qualified they were. Read full post »