(Starting May 2010 – the rest of my life)
Now we know that there is a “high likelihood” that my child “may be a child with autism or Asperger’s”. Fantastic. Now what?
On my way from that meeting back to work, I stopped by a school for kids with autism nearby called Little Star. I had previously run across this school “accidentally” in a search for preschools near my office. I no longer believe that it was coincidence that I knew about it. They laid out for me everything I would need to do to get Liam enrolled. The school provides
therapy for their students, which I later learned is really the only proven type of treatment for autism. First things first, we would need an actual diagnosis. Secondly, we would need to figure out how we were going to pay for it. They pointed me to all of ABA ’s state specific heath insurance laws and guided me in what questions to ask of our current health insurance policies. Indiana
This would need to come from a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist. We had already scheduled an evaluation with the developmental group at Riley, the local children’s hospital. The appointment was set for August, more than three months away. Someone I ran into (another coincidence, I’m sure…) suggested I call everyone on our current health plan who could make the diagnosis and see who had the earliest appointment. Admittedly, this may not be the best way to select a medical provider for one’s offspring, but each day that passed felt like I was losing my child further into this unknown chasm. I found a pediatric neurologist with a June 30 appointment, and scheduled it. I didn’t cancel the other, more comprehensive evaluation just in case. Some doctors were scheduling a year out. A YEAR!!
How to pay for it:
I won’t bore you with how many phone calls and faxes were actually made and how many hours of research I did, but here’s what I found out: Health insurance policies written in and governed by the state of
are required to pay for treatment for autism. However, Josh and I are both covered by self-funded health insurance policies, which basically means they get to pick and chose what they cover, and neither covers ABA Therapy. So we found a private policy for just Liam that does and filled we applied for the coverage. In case you’re wondering why we just don’t pay for it ourselves, Google it and you’ll see that we simply wouldn’t be able to afford it on our own. After almost six months, I still almost puke when I see copies of the bills. Indiana
We had two plans in place, one for each possible outcome.
Plan A: If we get approved for the insurance policy, then Liam goes to a full time
therapy center. This was best case scenario for Liam and for us logistically. ABA
Plan B: If we are not approved for the insurance policy, then I quit my job, Liam goes to the half day program in our school district while I am home teaching myself ABA therapy, which I then do with Liam in the afternoons.
Both plans assume diagnosis on the spectrum because by this point I had entered
and read every book available at Borders, so I was pretty sure it would happen. Google University
All of our balls were rolling, we just had to wait and see where they ended up...