What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.
How is ASD diagnosed?
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be difficult, since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Providers look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis.
ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered reliable. However, many children do not receive a final
diagnosis until much older.
Diagnosing an ASD takes two steps:
- Developmental Screening. All children should be screened for developmental delays and disabilities during regular well-child visits. In addition, all children should be screened specifically for ASD during regular well-child visits at 18 months and 24 months.
- Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation. This thorough review is performed by a specialist in child development. It includes looking at the child’s behavior and development and interviewing the parents.
Early Intervention Services
Early intervention services help children from birth to 3 years old learn important skills like talking, walking, and interacting with others. Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services provided by Riley and Geary Counties.
For more information on Geary County Infant Toddler Services, call (785) 717-4130; for RileyCounty Infant Toddler Services, (785) 776-6363.
How do I get an evaluation?
See your child’s PCM for a well-child visit and explain your concerns about your child. Talk about the prospect of placing a referral for an evaluation. Your PCM will place a referral for IACH Behavioral Health. If the Behavioral Health Department cannot screen the patient, then a referral to the network will be issued. HealthNet will generate an authorization letter to indicate where your child has been referred. To check the status of a referral, visit the HealthNet website at www.tricare-west.com. Call the referred provider and see what documentation is required, if any, to schedule an appointment. Please note that network providers who are approved to diagnose autism in Kansas are averaging a wait time 4 weeks to 6 months for new patients.
What is covered by TRICARE?
TRICARE covers services that children with ASD may need such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological tests and services, and prescriptions drugs.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
A notable treatment approach for people with an ASD is called applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA has become widely accepted among health care professionals and used in many schools and treatment clinics.
There are different types of ABA such as Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI), Pivotal Response Training (PRT), and Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI).
How do I get ABA for my child?
ABA is an additional therapy that your child can receive with an ASD diagnosis. It is only available if your child is enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and registered for Extended Care Health Option (ECHO). ECHO is only available to Active Duty families. To enroll your child in EFMP, call the IACH EFMP at (785) 240-7543. To register for
ECHO, call the HNFS Case/Care Line at (844)-52-HELPU (3578) and ask to speak with an ECHO coordinator.
What is the cost-share for every month of ECHO use?
ECHO-allowable amounts are not subject to a deductible. The cost-share for every month beneficiaries use ECHO benefits is based on the sponsor’s pay grade, as shown in the following ECHO Table.
The Exceptional Family Member Program has two offices on Fort Riley that provide different services. The IACH EFMP office assist will all medically-related concerns, enrollment, and updating of records. To reach the IACH EFMP office, call (785) 240-7543.
The Army Community Service EFMP office provides support for families with resources and advocacy beyond the medical aspect. To reach the ACS EFMP office, call (785) 239-9435.
What kind of support group does IACH host for ASD families
A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is difficult for both your child and you. ASD can make life challenging for the entire family. A support system will help you learn how to manage your
feelings and emotions when faced with the challenges of raising a child with ASD.
IACH hosts a closed Facebook Group for ASD families. This platform takes advantage of at least three benefits:
- Resources can easily be shared and saved digitally, making them accessible at all times to anyone in a group.
- Emotional support may be needed at any time and discussion forums in an online platform are not limited by set times each week.
- Provide access to discussions for users who may be unable to travel to an in-person meeting.
IACH provides access to family members who sign a confidentiality agreement with a nurse case manager. For more information on IACH’s FB Group, contact the IACH Public Affairs Office at (785) 239-8114.