Pediatrics announced an interesting statistic in this month’s issue of their journal. Investigators who represent South Carolina Disabilities Act have reported a presumptive five-fold increase in children with ASD who can benefit from early intensive behavioral therapy.
This data was identified after a rigorous state-wide implementation of a screening process to find eligible children.
Applied Behavioral Analysis could be a golden opportunity for young individuals and it has been shown to dramatically improve quality of life and behaviors of concern.
BabyNet, a program in South Carolina with access to state-level intervention, pays for early interventions for youngsters in the age range of three or under.
Prior to approval, a formal diagnosis had to take place before BabyNet could step in to bear the costs of an early intervention. This led to delays and long waiting lists for the treatment.
, said Act Early team member Jane M. Charles, M.D., a MUSC Children’s Health developmental paediatrician who holds the Jeffrey Edwin Gilliam Memorial Chair for the Study of Developmental Disabilities.
As a result, early intervention is delayed as children wait for a formal diagnosis.
Charles further adds, “If the eligibility of children under the age of three could be determined more promptly, then ABA therapy, which costs between $60,000 and $70,000 yearly, could be done at no cost to families and these children could get the treatment they need.”
After implementation, the policy was seen to have a major effect across South Carolina. The number of children who were receiving ABA grew from 53 to an astronomical figure of 265, a five-fold increase.
Further, the new setup used a two stage pre-screening process which was found to be highly effective, as it provided a very low false positive rate.
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“One thing we know is that when intervention is done early and intensely, especially among children with the most significant deficits, there is improved social interaction and communication,” Charles said.
“The collaborative effort of our South Carolina Act Early Team has dramatically increased the number of children at risk for ASD who receive early intervention (ABA services) in a way that is nationally unique,” said Rotholz.
“It provides a tremendously important service to these children and demonstrates the innovation of our South Carolina partner universities, organizations and agencies.”