A parent whose child receives an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis will always try to ensure the best Autism treatment and support for their child. Whether it is scouring the internet for research, joining support groups, meeting counselors, or enrolling the child for therapy, you may do everything possible for understanding and managing this complex neurological condition.
As one of the most powerful, evidence-based therapies for treating ASD, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy should rank high up on your list of options. However, any Autism treatment requires a dedicated and long-term approach in order to be effective. Unlocking the true potential of ABA therapy would mean committing to a group-setting or one-on-one therapy for about 40 hours per week. Hence, it is important to understand the cost of ABA therapy, as well as the time and effort that you must commit to it in order to help your child make the most of this treatment.
The ABA therapy experts at AB Spectrum offer insights into ABA therapy costs and applicable financial relief measures to treat your child with Autism.
Basic research about ABA therapy costs in the U.S. will tell you that on average, a 60-minute session with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will cost you about $120. This means, even if you sign up your child for 10 hours of therapy per week, it would translate into $1,200 per week, which is approximately $62,400 per year. If you were to commit to 40 hours per week as typically recommended, you are looking at an investment of about $249,600 per year.
Remember, the lower the hours, the lesser the chances for the ABA therapist to build a rapport with your child, or fully observe or analyze the child’s behavioral changes. Which means, the financial impact of ABA therapy can be significant and may even make you rethink whether you can afford Autism treatments for your child.
However, a number of other factors contribute to the overall expenses of ABA therapy:
The severity of symptoms experienced by your child, and the approximate duration of therapy your child really needs.
Your geographical location and availability of qualified ABA therapists and Autism treatment centers near you.
The experience levels and rates of the ABA therapist you choose, along with the location of therapy – at-home sessions, clinic-based therapy, or a hybrid approach.
Once you consider all the factors, the situation may not be as daunting as it appears at first glance. In addition to federally-funded schemes, such as Special Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be eligible for additional grants and benefits to meet the costs of your child’s ABA therapy.
State-funded schemes: In Missouri, the “Autism Waiver” program provides a number of services and supports to children with ASD, ages 3 through 18 to enable them to remain at home with their families. This includes financial support for assistive technology, professional assessment and monitoring, ABA therapy, community specialist services, personal assistant, specialized medical equipment and supplies, transportation and more.
School-funded ABA therapy: These may be available directly from your child’s school or courtesy of the school district. Upon assessment and approvals, your child’s therapy costs may get 100% coverage. A BCBA will develop and supervise the ABA curriculum, and your school’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) will report the progress.
Insurance providers in MO: As per the House Bill 1311, private insurance companies operating in Missouri must provide coverage for psychiatric care, psychological care, pharmacy care and therapeutic care (include ABA therapy) under Group Health Insurance policies for children diagnosed with ASD. In the case of individual health benefit plans, you can add this coverage for an additional cost. If you do not have any type of health insurance, you can also apply for Medicaid at your local Family Support Division office.
Scholarships by Financial Centers: Several financial centers may have their own financial assistance packages for children needing ABA therapy. Each institution may define their own eligibility criteria and other parameters. Upon acceptance of application, you could get access to significant financial support for the appropriate duration of the therapy, as well as to aid your child’s academic development.
Easy Finance Schemes: These may be independently offered by several Autism treatment centers in and around St. Louis and throughout the State of Missouri.
Private Payment through Employers or Organizations: At times, your employers or work organizations may use a Trust to cover partial payments for the child’s education. The level of care and coverage may depend on your household income and other parameters. However, private payment arrangements may often come with a sliding scale for private pay clients. Hence, you may want to investigate the frequency (per session or per month), and accepted mode of payments (cash or check). While this method may not cover the entire cost of ABA therapy, it can bring down the cost per session to as little as $20, depending on your individual circumstances.
As parents of a child with ASD, you get access to several free statewide programs available in Missouri. These include:
Missouri Family-to-Family (MoF2F): Information and referral services to connect with other parents who are dealing with Autism.
Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment (MO-FEAT): Education, support, and resource directory to help families of children with Autism.
ParentLink: Information about parenting, child development, and other Autism services in your area.
You can also refer to the Financial Planning Kit offered by Autism Speaks to map out the financial future of your child with ASD.
Investing in ABA therapy for your child will be well worth your time, effort, and money, especially if you work with an experienced ABA professional. At Autism and Behavior Spectrum (AB Spectrum), we offer ABA therapy based on the Reggio Emilia approach to improve the quality of life for children with Autism and their families. Our qualified and skilled ABA therapists design and deliver a customized ABA curriculum, structured around your child’s unique needs and treatment goals. From developing critical life skills and teaching self-care abilities to reduce challenging behaviors, and improving on-task behaviors, we aim to set up your child for success in all academic, social, and professional endeavors. Focusing on Natural Environment Training (NET), our therapists provide ABA therapy through our Autism treatment centers in Chesterfield or St. Charles, Missouri, as well as in-home ABA sessions throughout St. Louis, Missouri.
Have more questions about financing your child’s ABA therapy? Get in touch with the experts at an AB Spectrum Autism treatment center near you. Call us at 314.648.2687 or book a free consultation today.