Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most common questions we are asked through our Helpdesk. You will find more detailed information, additional recommended resources and strategies about these and other commonly asked questions by reviewing our Tool Kits.
Transitioning to Adulthood
Diagnosis As An Adult
We have just received a diagnosis of Autism, Asperger’s or PDD–NOS. What should our first steps be?
If your child is younger than 2 and a half, call Bright Beginnings (formerly Help Me Grow) for an assessment and therapy options.
If your child is older than 2 and a half, your first step is to call your school district. Speak to the office of special education, and ask to register your child and to request an evaluation. Secondly, contact an organization such as Milestones to help steer you in the right direction. We can help you prioritize your needs and next steps. We can offer suggestions on appropriate reading materials, recommend specialists or therapists, and help you get on the most successful path for your child.
Consulting with your child’s doctor for recommendations might also prove to be helpful. Begin to build your team of professionals, family, friends or religious leaders to help guide you and support your family.
Contact our Helpdesk to get recommended reading resources on a wide variety of autism-related topics. We can give you input on what books might be best for you.
Milestones has created a First Diagnosis Tool Kit that walks parents through the beginning steps of managing a new diagnosis.
The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence has useful video modules online and a free lending library.
The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) has some great guides for parents.
Become familiar with effective, evidence-based autism interventions.
If you are interested in learning more about Applied Behavior Analysis, listen to our podcast “Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Fundamentals”. ABA is evidence-based and can be successful with individuals of any age across a variety of settings.
Rethink Autism has videos that show different behavioral techniques in action.
See our calendar for workshops, including the University Hospitals-sponsored Quick Start series Wednesday evenings.
How do we start the process of applying for disability benefits?
Start by reviewing the Social Security Administration's website. Disability insurance pays benefits to families who have members who are “insured”, meaning they have worked long enough and have paid Social Security taxes. The Social Security Administration's comprehensive website details the qualifications necessary, the definition of “disabled” as pertaining to disability benefits, and gives a detailed checklist of how to apply. It also has links to the applications and answers many other questions.
I am looking for a doctor in my area. How do I find one who works with children with autism?
Review our Resource Center for doctors, therapists, dentists, legal aids, and other medical practitioners who specialize in the field of autism.
What are considered early intervention therapies?
There are many different therapies available that claim to help people with autism. It is important for families to research these therapies to decide what works best for their situation. Milestones only endorses evidence-based therapies which have proven, scientific evidence supporting their success. We have a list of these therapies on our website.
We've heard HR 463 will provide insurance coverage of ABA benefits — how do we apply?
New state legislation, House Bill 463 (signed into law by Governor Kasich on January 4, 2017), will require coverage for medically necessary treatments of autism, including ABA for individuals under the age of 14 years.
To help you access insurance covered ABA in Ohio, you should know the following:
-HB 463 requires private insurance companies to cover ABA in Ohio
-Autism insurance coverage took years of parental activism and two different legislative bills. The successful bill was spearheaded by Representative Cheryl Grossman of Grove City. The result is House Bill 463, new legislation that includes provisions that require private insurersto provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder. The section of the bill regarding autism coverage originated from House Bill 350, which Rep. Grossman sponsored.
Under the provisions, any health insurance plan is required to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment (including ABA services) of autism for individuals up to the age of 14. Coverage cannot be terminated as a result of such a diagnosis.
HB 463 allows a health plan issuer to review an autism spectrum disorder treatment plan on an annual basis. Allows a health plan issuer to review an autism spectrum disorder treatment plan more than once a year if the additional reviews are agreed to by the overseeing physician.
To access ABA services through insurance, parents need:
-A formal diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
-A Script for ABA Therapy if the diagnosis is either over 1 year old or does not contain a recommendation for ABA Therapy
-Choose an ABA provider who will perform assessment/evaluation that will be used to create a treatment plan that indicates the number of hours of ABA therapy needed (the Treatment Plan must be updated every 6 months and submitted to for re-authorization of services)
If you have questions, contact your insurance company. Parents/guardians are still responsible for co-pays/charges not covered by insurance.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. This document is designed to meet the educational needs for a child who may have a disability. It is drafted by a group of team members geared towards obtaining the best educational support for a child. The start of this process involves a multi-factored evaluation through your school district. Review our School Strategies page on how to draft and renew the goals in your child's IEP.
What is Transition Planning?
Transition Planning is a coordinated set of activities that are focused on the academic and functional abilities of a student with a disability to achieve success after graduation from high school. A Transition Plan is individualized, relies on multiple staff and providers and is embedded into the goals and services in the IEP.
For more information about Transition Planning, visit this comprehensive website from autismhandbook.org.
You can also review Milestones' School Tool Kit for more information about Transition Planning.
At what age does Transition Planning start?
In Ohio, transition planning legally must begin by the age of 14 or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team. The focus of the transition plan at 14 years old should be on what courses the teen will take to ultimately achieve their post-secondary goals.
Federal law mandates that transition planning begin by the age of 16. Transition Planning must address services and skills needed to attain any post-secondary education options, employment, independent living, community living (including leisure activities) as well as connecting to adult provider agencies.
A Vision Statement or the Future Planning Section of the teen’s IEP guides the Transition Plan for a student and should be written by the student with disabilities, their family and any other trusted adults in their lives. A vision statement expresses hopes and desired outcomes for post-high school and should result in the creation of IEP goals and supports that will help the teen move closer to achieving a self-determined, meaningful adult life.
To learn more about Transition Planning please visit National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities or autismhandbook.org.
What should I do when my child turns 18?
The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities has produced a great guide for parents highlighting what needs to happen once a child turns 18. It covers topics such as guardianship, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), special needs trusts kand Medicaid. The guide is called “My Child Turned 18. What Do I Do?”
Our website offers advice on self-advocacy and self-determination , as well as resources for legal, medical, social, and educational opportunities for people over the age of 18 with ASD in our Resource Center.
If you are considering college education that can accommodate special needs students, our Resource Center lists College Research websites to help you find the right school. Likewise, there are several Adult Non-Degree suggestions.
Our Consultation and Training services offer personalized transition planning and consultation services.
If you are looking for social opportunities, our Calendar sorts events geared towards people with ASD over the age of 18.
For further assistance, please call Milestones at (216) 464-7600 or send us an email .
How do help my child with ASD find a job?
We have helpful suggestions on our Practical Tips for Parents page.
I have just been diagnosed with autism as an adult. How can I learn more about how to move forward? Are there reading materials I should review to help me?
There are many materials out there that can help you adapt and adjust to your diagnosis. We encourage you to review a free guide from Autism Speaks called “Is it Autism and If So, What Next? A Guide for Adults”. It gives a comprehensive overview of how to tackle your diagnosis, as well as discussions about whether to disclose your diagnosis, your rights as a person with autism, and how to accept your diagnosis and move forward with your life.
WTTAC — “Welcome to the Autistic Community!”
The National Arc — Autism & Adult Diagnosis
IAN (Interactive Autism Network) Community — Newly Diagnosed
Additionally, Milestones offers Consultation & Training opportunities, where you can receive one-on-one assistance for specific issues.
I am interested in using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) with my child or students. How do I start, and what online resources are available?
Here is a comprehensive list of Behavioral Intervention or ABA trainings in the Northeast Ohio area and online. Please call us if you have questions or to help sort through the information.
MILESTONES AUTISM RESOURCES
Local ABA consultants are listed in our Resource Center under Therapy: ABA Consultants.
ABA Online Resources are also listed in our Resource Center under Therapy: ABA Online Resources.
LOCAL FORMAL CLASSES
Cleveland State University
CSU offers a series of preparation courses for Board Certified Behavior Analysis.
Kent State University
KSU offers an online Autism Certificate program.
Bowling Green State University
BGSU has a new Autism Certificate program that is web-based and includes one course in behavior and classroom management.
Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism offers periodic workshops.
LOCAL BEHAVIORAL CONSULTANTS
You can also be in touch with any local Behavioral ABA consultants to train directly with them if they have any openings. Some local ABA consultants are listed on our Resource Center under Therapy: ABA Consultants.
ONLINE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
CARD eLearning™ and Skills™
CARD eLearning™ is a 40 – hour online training course designed to facilitate effective intervention for children with autism by equipping users with foundational knowledge in ABA.
Skills™ is an innovative web-based tool connected to CARD eLearning providing everything educators, parents, teachers, and professionals need to effectively design and manage a comprehensive, individualized treatment program for children with autism and related disorders.
ADEPT (Autism Distance Education Parent Training)
Free 10 part webcast series for parents to learn how to use ABA techniques with their children. Self-paced and interactive, provides tools including checklists and activities to confirm understanding of the materials presented.
TARGET (Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching)
TARGET is a network of 20 regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) around the state and in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training provides a mechanism to access training, technical assistance, support, and resources for educators who serve students with autism. Free “online bank” of intervention resources.
Autism Internet Modules – OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence)
Series of online learning modules includes information on assessment and identification of ASDs, recognizing and understanding behaviors and characteristics, transition to adulthood, employment, and numerous evidence-based practices and interventions. There are quite a few that focus on Behavioral Interventions such as:
• Antecedent-Based Interventions (ABI)
• Differential Reinforcement
• Discrete Trial Training
• Naturalistic Intervention
• Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
• Task Analysis
Online Training Program for families and providers to increase ability for parents and teachers to provide individualized ABA therapy at home and in the classroom. Rethink Autism Program includes personalized assessment that will help to generate an individualized curriculum and ABA program.
Rethink Autism’s curriculum is best used in conjunction with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
How do I create a behavior plan to control my child's inappropriate behaviors?
A behavior plan is an effective way to manage inappropriate behaviors, which can be common among children with Asperger's and high-functioning autism. The website myaspergerschild.com offers a concise explanation of how behavior plans work and the benefits for both the parent and child.
What social opportunities are available for my child on the autism spectrum?
Milestones has created a Camp, Social & Recreation Tool Kit that highlights some great ideas for social interactions and recreational opportunities.