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Autism ABA Insurance Coverage: A Matter of Time

It has been known that Canada had led the northern pack in terms of finding appropriate treatment and therapy for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Not only due to strong parental advocacies, the prevalence of tight-based community support systems also make Autism programs across many Canadian provinces to widen the scope of Autism health insurance coverage over the years. Yet, many insurance companies continually refuse to cover for ABA (applied behavior analysis) on the basis that it is “educational” or, in some cases filed, “experimental.”

As we all know, the effectiveness of ABA-based intervention on children with ASDs has been well documented for the last 5 decades or so. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children receiving early intensive ABA treatment have greatly shown substantial and sustainable gains not just in language and ID but also on academic performance, adaptive behavior and social conduct. Children with ASDs treated with ABA are also significantly better than those in control groups.

In a nutshell, ABA is a behavioral intervention to proactively treat ASDs and it is widely used by medical practitioners and caregivers directly involved in the pursuit to manage, if not to treat, autism. Most of us who have family members with Autism are not that unfamiliar with this therapy. Over the years, however, the insurance industry continually gives ABA the cold treatment as some of us might have also experienced with our private medical insurance. Well, there is hope that such could change nowadays.

With the recent statistics of 1 in 68 children having ASDs publicly declared and current declaration of Dr. Vera Tait, associate executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, debunking the “experimental” claims only on ABA, there is hope after all for families dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder to enjoy a far wider coverage on their medical insurance for Applied Behavioral Analysis. According to Dr. Tait’s testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services, a more flexible insurance coverage covering ABA should be afforded to families affected with ASD as the effectiveness of the treatment becomes more prevalent. All one needs is an appropriate diagnosis by a certified physician and declaration of ABA as a medical therapy for the individual with ASDs.

With this breakthrough, the autism communities across the US and, maybe, Canada in the near future will enjoy its positive impact. Not that it can cure ASD but mainly because it can be of great help in providing a more effective habilitative progress among kids with autism leading them to live a life they so rightfully deserve.