At LinkedIn, Irene Tanzman identifies roadblocks to autism help in Massahcusetts. She identifies problems with the insurance mandate, the Medicaid waiver, and screening for depression in people with developmental disabilities. Here she discusses early intervention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen for autism. If results are concerning, pediatricians refer the patient to Early Intervention. They would also refer the patient for a comprehensive autism spectrum disorder (ASD) evaluation. In Massachusetts children suspected of having ASD must wait until they receive the “official diagnosis” from a specialist before they can access autism specialty services. A provisional diagnosis with a positive screen is not enough. It can often take months to get an appointment to receive the “official diagnosis.” Look on page 13 at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/com-health/early-childhood/operational-procedures.pdf. Early intervention is very important while the brain is as its greatest plasticity. This wait time may affect the individual’s lifelong prognosis. (Please note that it is possible to get EI that is not targeted for autism immediately, so technically they are not denying EI services.)