There is no doubt that autism is one of the leading diagnoses in modern medicine. More and more cases are identified each year, and more and more children are born with spectrum disorders. Little is understood about autism, making treatment even more difficult and expensive. This is not all bad news for the consumer. Since many autism interventions are new to the market, they are considered experimental or research oriented. This makes them eligible for grant funding, which directly benefits consumers. Individuals with autism who are willing to participate in these studies have access to multiple treatments and intervention strategies.
Autism spectrum disorders are also classified as educational disorders. This means that many of the costs associated with treating autism can be covered by the public school system. Under educational code, every student in the United States has the right to an appropriate and free education. This means that students with autism must have accommodations which enable them to learn as well as anyone else.
If additional therapy outside of the school is desired or needed, there are also many options for state funding. Regional centers for individuals with disabilities are typically located in major cities and serve their surrounding areas. The first step to getting on board with state funded resources is to contact the local regional center. If you cannot find one in your area, start with the local chapter of Americans with Disabilities Act, and they will put you in touch with the proper offices.
Once the proper offices have been reached, clients are assigned a case manager to oversee their services, needs and progress. The case manager who oversees the case will not likely handle all of the services. Many regional centers hire private companies as vendors through which they contract services. For example, if a client is seeking applied behavioral analysis therapy, the regional center will locate a center which provides them, and assign the client to that company. Then, the company will bill the regional center for all ABA services completed with that client.
Autism grants are typically awarded to centers which provide services. However, there are some grants which may be available in some states and counties which offer camps, scholarships for school and accessories for therapy. Technological devices are examples of accessories. There are several avenues to obtaining these at lowered or eliminated costs which vary by state and regional area.
There should be no reason for a client with autism to miss out on needed services for lack of finances. There are plenty of services that are provided at reduced or no cost to families who need them. Social security benefits may also apply to the individual with autism, as well as in home support services for respite care. Financial assistance for low functioning clients assists parents and caregivers with costs for diapering, medications, special diet and other items required for the care of the client.
Once a service center has been established and a caseworker has been assigned, the client will be assessed for service needs. Some of these might be components of school therapy. In this case, a recommendation will be made in the individual education plan and a service contractor will be assigned if it is not covered by the district. In some of these cases, such as with occupational therapy, the district does not employ service providers. The regional center will accommodate the school district and the funding will be split between the budgets of the two agencies, since both are funneled by the state.
Parents always have the option to pay for private services. Some people believe that they will get better services if they pay privately. This is not always the case. Many county and state programs offer highly qualified and experienced staff members to their clients. Out of pocket treatments might be very expensive.