Regulations and reimbursement is changing for those who are receiving Behavioral Analysis (otherwise known as ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis). Please make your voice heard. Let your representative know the effects and ramifications of their proposed cutbacks on reimbursement for BA will have on you, your family and our community. Visit: United States House of Representatives
This morning my son was stimming. It was something that he started up again this last weekend. But this weekend I wasn’t asking him why he was doing it, I was just requesting he stop. Something made me stop and ask myself, why was he choosing this behavior. The answer I got was simple: stress. So I asked my son if he was stressed. He answered me no, but that didn’t suffice. Me being me, I asked again in a different way, “are you anxious?” In case he didn’t understand what anxious meant, I described it as feeling butterflies in his stomach. Then I went on to say, we all get anxious. Mommy gets anxious daddy gets anxious and that’s OK. What’s important is that what we remember is how to deal with our anxiety. So I gave him some concrete examples of what to do. I told him he could think of clouds floating by in his head. Or do you think the stars and the count them and lastly I told him that it would be ok if he meditate, I reminded him meditation helps calm your tummy.
This interaction made me realize what I take for granted being a parent of an additional needs child… I have acquired many tools from having a supportive family growing up, from going to school and becoming an educator and from life experience but most of all, from our behavioral analyst. There is certain knowledge I have of child development, psychology, behavior that most parents don’t, and yet, I still need assistance and support to guide me in how to effectively manage my son’s behavior. So for those who are not as well equipped with these tools it is even more necessary to rely on support systems.
We’ve all heard the phrase, you can’t see forest through the trees. That is exactly what a behavioral analyst does for parents. For example, a behavioral analyst would naturally look at the antecedent of the behavior assess the behavior as it is happening and look at redirecting or replacing the behavior.
This weekend for me was that prime example where I was the parent looking at my son’s behavior and not understanding why he was stimming. I was not constructively redirecting his behavior or supporting him in doing so for himself. I was too engrossed in our daily life that I couldn’t see that my son was communicating in his own way that he is stressed.
AHCA, Otherwise known as the Agency for Health Care Administration, Is proposing major cutbacks from Medicaid to those who would be providing behavioral therapy. Think this doesn’t affect you because you have private insurance? Private insurance may actually follow suit, so it behooves you to start advocating and letting your legislature know your thoughts and what ABA therapy has done for you and your family.
Don’t use behavioral therapy but are an additional needs parent and don’t see the need to get involved? The impact that this may have on your other therapies may be profound! This is just one therapy, but may actually impact your speech, physical therapy or occupational therapy. Also consider the impact that it has on your friends who have children who benefit from ABA therapy. Choose to be supportive, choose to be kind, choose strength in numbers. We can be strong only if our community bands together and stands strong in support of each other.
Have a neurotypical child and don’t feel that this will affect you? Wrong again. We are in a movement of creating a much more compassionate society. Your neurotypical child benefits by having our additional needs children in their lives. It creates awareness and consciousness allowing all individuals to not just accept others as they are, but encourages the actual neurotypical individual to accept themselves as they are, their perfect imperfections. Furthermore, the economic impact this will have of the repercussions of those with additional needs having unmanageable behavior because the support needed was not given due to cutbacks that forced behavioral analysts, to close their offices because they could not afford to continue working and giving away their services. ACHA’s short term solution may be economic right now but will be economically detrimental to society as a whole in the long run.