Families may find it challenging to receive an autism diagnosis for a loved one, regardless of the age of diagnosis or the severity of symptoms and behaviors. Like many disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects everyone differently, resulting in complex treatment requirements. Nevertheless, there is still no universally acknowledged treatment for ASD.
Several strategies may be employed to support capability development, ultimately boosting a person’s sense of autonomy and capacity to participate in meaningful day-to-day activities. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) falls under the umbrella of behavioral methods and is primarily regarded as the most effective treatment method available.
In Nevada, several treatment options are available for those diagnosed with ASD, including behavioral and educational interventions, medication, and alternative therapies. However, navigating insurance coverage for these treatments can sometimes be challenging for families and caregivers.
Behavioral and Educational Interventions
Behavioral and educational interventions are the cornerstone of treatment for ASD. These interventions are designed to improve social, communication, and behavioral skills and to help individuals with ASD reach their full potential. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a widely used and evidence-based intervention for ASD. ABA uses positive reinforcement to teach new skills and behaviors and reduce problem behaviors. Another evidence-based intervention for ASD is early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI). EIBI aims to improve cognitive and language skills and social interactions and reduce problem behaviors.
Some individuals respond better than others to particular therapies. Nonetheless, the most effective treatments for people with ASD are highly structured and tailored. Current research indicates that early diagnosis and treatment, ideally before or during preschool, offer the most possibility for improvement in symptoms and following abilities. By obtaining the proper therapy, individuals with ASD have a greater chance of realizing their full potential. Even for individuals who are older at the time of diagnosis, ASD treatment is typically effective. In Nevada, ABA therapy is covered by Medicaid and most private insurance plans, including those offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.
Neurofeedback is a fascinating therapeutic technique that can be utilized to treat various disorders, from autism to traumatic brain injuries. Many people can benefit from neurofeedback because it is a non-invasive and straightforward kind of treatment. It is not only practical but also supported by empirical evidence. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated neurofeedback’s effectiveness in relieving distressing symptoms. In particular, neurofeedback can assist individuals with autism in improving their social skills, develop their executive abilities, and alleviate symptoms of neurological comorbidities through targeted therapy sessions. You can learn more about neurofeedback treatment at the Nevada Autism Center by calling (702) 660-2005.
Autism Treatment Centers
There are several ASD treatment centers available in Nevada that range from assisting teens with transitionary periods to intensive behavioral therapy. You can find a directory of these services here. There is even an option to filter your search by type of insurance, outpatient/inpatient programs, and cost.
Alternative therapies, such as music, art, and animal-assisted therapy, are not considered evidence-based treatments for ASD. However, some families and caregivers report that these therapies have improved social and communication skills and reduced problem behaviors. In Nevada, alternative therapies are generally not covered by insurance, including Medicaid. However, some private insurance plans may cover these therapies on a case-by-case basis. It is essential to check with the insurance provider to determine coverage.
A Nevadan non-profit group called Families for Effective Autism Treatment, Inc. (FEAT) has made it their mission to aid families whose children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The group’s members, parents, and experts in the field serve as a sounding board for families dealing with autism and its associated challenges. The FEAT Board of Directors meets monthly to deliberate on organizational matters, and host programs, activities, community outreach, support, guidance, and opportunities to meet new people. FEAT has courteously created a Medical and Therapy Providers directory available to serve in Nevada. Specialists in categories range from speech and language therapy, counseling services, neurology, pediatrics, audiology, alternative therapies (music, Dan Doctors), and much more. Here is their specific list of ABA providers.
Insurance Coverage in Nevada
In Nevada, Medicaid is the primary source of insurance coverage for individuals with ASD. However, not all treatments and therapies are covered under the Medicaid program. Unfortunately, EIBI is not currently covered by Medicaid in Nevada. In 2017, Nevada passed a law requiring insurance companies to cover ABA therapy for individuals with ASD. This law applies to all insurance plans sold in Nevada, including those offered through the ACA marketplace. However, there are some restrictions on coverage, including a maximum benefit of $36,000 per year and a requirement that a licensed behavior analyst provide ABA therapy.
Despite this law, some families and caregivers can struggle to get insurance coverage for ASD treatment. One issue is that some insurance plans may have limited networks of healthcare providers that offer ASD treatment. This can be incredibly challenging for families and caregivers in rural areas, where there may be a shortage of healthcare providers specializing in ASD treatment.
More Resources for Finding Treatment
The Rural Regional Center provides services such as case management, assisted living, day habilitation, and caregiver respite for those diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disorders like ASD who live in rural areas. Those who have significant limitations in adaptive functioning are eligible for this program. Contact (775) 687-5162 for more details on available programs and assistance.
Nevada 211, a service of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, is devoted to assisting state residents in making appropriate assistance referrals. Nevada’s 2-1-1 system connects people with autism and their families to various services, such as those that teach practical life skills, financial aid for medical bills, social and occupational training, recreational activities, camps, and social gatherings. You can filter your search here by keyword or location.
Families with children diagnosed with autism can get financial aid through the Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP). ABA, speech and occupational therapy, and social skills groups are among the available services. ATAP provides service coordination and links families to local and statewide aid, as well as treatment providers and educational opportunities. Individuals must be under the age of 19, residents of Nevada, and diagnosed with autism to be eligible for ATAP services. If a child is enrolled in Medicaid, ATAP will not pay for services because Medicaid covers them entirely. To apply or for more information, please contact an Intake Coordinator at 775-687-0113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ATAP also published a highly informational PDF titled Nevada Resources for Autism from their Aging and Disability Services Division. This document contains contact information for over 40 local services and state resources specifically for autism categorized into northern and southern regions of Nevada. Available resources range from therapeutic programs, adaptive sports, advocacy services, transitional camps, and much more.
Although there is no “cure” for ASD, early intervention and ongoing therapy can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals with the disorder. Use our guide to help you locate the best provider for your family.
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