IMG_5423Autism is characterized by delays in developmental milestones. These delays occur in social interaction and communication, and are often concurrent with repetitive and problematic behaviors. Parents should work with their medical doctor to make sure their child is reaching developmental milestones. Early diagnosis and treatment can yield significant results in the development of your child.

The diagnosis and treatment of Autism is more accessible today than ever before. The most evidence-based and researched treatment of Autism, is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Graduate school programs throughout the United States teach and train people in ABA. These individuals become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and spend their careers making a difference in the lives of people with Autism. The scope of ABA services is vast. They can be center-based or occur in home and community settings. Behavior analysts target behaviors to help each individual reach his or her maximum potential.

Since January 1, 2016, a new State law expands the accessibility and quality of care for individuals with Autism. This law requires private insurance companies in the State of Hawaii to pay for medically necessary ABA therapy for children with Autism. Each covered child up to age 15 is eligible for $25,000 annually for ABA therapy. These ABA programs must be created and overseen by a licensed BCBA in the State of Hawaii.

The first step starts with your primary care physician and your insurance company. Contact them to set an appointment to discuss a current diagnosis or concerns about your child’s development. Your insurance provider will be able to direct you to agencies and individuals in your community who are licensed BCBAs and can help create a program for your child.

Beau Laughlin, M.S. BCBA, is the Executive Director at Horizons Academy. He can be reached at [email protected] or 808-575-2954.