Raising early intervention and autism awareness through our amazing journey

I have conducted some of my own research on Medicaid waivers and available help for individuals with autism.  I’m sure you will find these facts just as disturbing as I do.

The information can be found on the Medicaid link below.

 

“Virginia has no definition for ASD in a written statute. For diagnosis, the state refers to the DSM IV1 Diagnostic Criteria for Autism. A diagnosis of ASD is generally not sufficient in and of itself to qualify for services; rather, eligibility for services is based on need. It is estimated that more than 90,000 individuals in Virginia are on the autism spectrum (Commonwealth Autism Service, 2013)”. – (Yes, you read that correctly; there is no written statute of a definition.  Because there is no definition, the state is able to get away with using the reference of the DSM V.  Instead of attempting to find a true and factual medical definition, they went with the easiest “reference” which of course puts the state at an enormous financial advantage.)

“The 2009 Report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to the Governor and the General Assembly of Virginia reviewed the services available in Virginia for ASD. Some of the issues identified in the report included poor coordination of programs, a lack of depth of early intervention services, an inability of the school system to fully address the needs of students with ASD, and limited supports to help adults with ASD achieve independence”. – (As you can see, the issues that were identified SIX years ago have not budged, and I honestly feel there has been no desire to do so.  And unless there is an ear-piercing noise, I doubt we will see any change.)

“In 2011, Virginia passed legislation that required state-regulated health plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment for young children with ASD aged 2–6”. – (Our health insurance plan is federally funded, giving the employer the option to take the mandate.  My husband’s employer has opted out.)

Below you will see a list of Medicaid Waivers in Virginia.

VA Children’s Mental Health- Children aged 0-21 with serious emotional disturbances  (does not meet this criteria, as he has no “emotional disturbance” to identify)

 

VA Individual & Family Developmental Disabilities Support*- Individuals aged 6+ with DD or related conditions, including autism  (does not meet this criteria, as he is three years old.)

 

VA Day Support HCBW for Persons with MR* – Individuals aged 6+ with ID  (does not meet this criteria, as he is three years old.)

 

VA Technology Assisted- Individuals of all ages who are technology dependent  (does not meet this criteria, as he is not tech dependent.)

 

VA Alzheimer’s Assisted Living- Individuals aged 65+ and aged 18–64 with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia  (does not meet this criteria)

 

VA Elderly or Disabled with Consumer Direction- Individuals aged 65+ or individuals of all ages with a physical or other disability ( DOES meet this criteria, but so far he has been denied.  We have submitted an appeal.)

 

VA HIV/AIDS-  Individuals of all ages with HIV/AIDS  (does not meet this criteria.)

 

Virginia does not have any waivers specific to individuals with ASD at this time.

A few other waivers-

The Virginia Individual & Family Developmental Disabilities Support waiver provides individuals aged 6 and older with developmental disabilities or autism with the following services- (does not meet this criteria, as he is three years old.)

The Virginia Day Support HCBW for Persons with ID waiver provides individuals with intellectual disabilities aged 6 and older with the following services- (does not meet this criteria, as he is three years old.)

Under “Early Intervention” states something sickening and hypocritical:

“Finally, the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) sends a birthday newsletter for all Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment eligible youth, which includes developmental milestones to promote screening and early identification. “- I was seriously in shock when I read this sentence.  The same people who go to great lengths to deny children with autism also send out “birthday” newsletters to promote autism screenings.  For what?!  Apparently it’s to, once again, cover their butts and pretend they are on board.  Another LIE!

Under “Early Intervention to School” states the what we have found to be true.  The school system decides what they want regarding the transition from early intervention to school age:

“Although transition from early intervention services is well practiced and typically runs smoothly, some difficulties arise from different eligibility criteria used by early intervention and the schools. Virginia has a statewide early intervention standard, whereas the school systems determine their own criteria for service eligibility and level of need. This can lead to an interruption of an individual’s services.”.  Our aged out of early intervention when he turned three years old.  The attempt to transition the first time (we will try again in the spring) took three months of meetings, assessments, and more meetings.  After all of the headache, we learned that he wasn’t severe enough even though he scored significantly low on all levels.  I have a strong feeling he will meet criteria this year but that won’t make the headache of the process any easier.  I can’t help but laugh when neighbors say “the elementary school has a preschool program!”.  Really??

So, that is where we stand with our three year old diagnosed with hypotonia, global developmental delay, and autism.  The uphill battle of the day-to-day care taking of a special needs child is painful enough, but then to learn there is no help??  I hope this information alone helps people to understand what the autism community is provided to help our children; nothing.

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