Today, the Indiana ACT for Families coalition is featuring Anderson, Indiana resident Taylor Stinefield’s story about raising her 5-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how center-based ABA therapy has become an indispensable resource for her family.
Taylor’s son started demonstrating signs of autism around his second birthday. “It was suggested that I look into getting my son evaluated for autism,” she said. “And it took me a little while to grasp because I didn’t really know what it was and didn’t quite understand it myself.” After learning more about signs of autism and noticing those behaviors in her son, Taylor scheduled an evaluation.
Her son was officially diagnosed with ASD almost a year later and Taylor immediately started searching for the best resources to help her son thrive. “His doctors told me everything I needed to know, what I could do and what options I had to help him. From that point, I got my son on the list for ABA therapy.”
“They Were There Through Everything”
Before starting ABA therapy, Taylor’s son was nonverbal, did not like physical touch, would run away suddenly, and also had some aggressive behaviors. After less than a month of going to his ABA therapy center daily, he was starting to have conversations for the first time. “It was all of a sudden,” she said. “He went from not speaking a word to repeating what he heard people say. I was reassured that this therapy was working and that it was helping him progress tremendously.”
In addition to the changes she was seeing in her son, Taylor was also able to learn so much about how she could best assist her child from her support network at the ABA center. “His therapists help me throughout the entire process,” she said. “They show me ways that I can help him at home. The best thing about his therapists is that they teach not only your child, but they teach you how to accommodate your child’s needs.”
Proposed Cuts Could Eliminate Care for Her Son
Taylor is very concerned about the detrimental impact the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning’s (OMPP) proposed rate cut would have on her son’s care. “I have no idea what we would do if our ABA center closed and we were to lose it all,” she said. “Without proper funding, I would pretty much have to take my son out of ABA therapy entirely.”
Taylor said her only option would be to send her son back to public school, which she sees as short-staffed and not fully-equipped to handle an influx of children with special needs, like her son. “There is no way that he is anywhere near ready for a school environment and teachers can’t handle that either,” she said. “I don’t understand why they would even consider these cuts that would severely impact children and families. It’s short-sighted.”
Indiana ACT for Families is a broad coalition of Hoosier families, ABA therapists, ABA therapy providers, and stakeholders, including The Arc of Indiana and other advocacy groups, working to advocate in support of promoting access to high-quality ABA therapy services in Indiana. For more information, please visit www.IndianaACT4Families.com.
If you are interested in sharing how ABA therapy has impacted your family, please email [email protected].
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