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Hot Cars & Kids in the Summer

It only takes 15 minutes for a child in a hot car to sustain a heat stroke or other complications.

kid shielding his eyes

The law dictates that leaving children under the age of six in cars that are not running is a second-degree misdemeanor. If the car is running, a child can legally be left alone for less than 15 minutes. Keep in mind, cracking open a window will do little to nothing to keep the car cooler.

The Florida “Motor Vehicle Good Samaritan Law” makes it lawful for an individual to forcibly enter a vehicle to help a person or pet in danger. They will not be held liable for damages if there was no other way to enter the car. Immediately after or before, 911 must be called.

kid playing with toy car

The heat in Florida can become very dangerous, very quickly. Here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your family safe during the hot summer months:

  • Keep your car locked at all times. It is possible for a child to climb into a car, in a hot garage or driveway, and be unable to get out.
  • Keep keys and car remotes away from children at all times.
  • If you must leave your child in the car while running errands, use drive-thru services.
  • Call 911 immediately if you see a child or a pet left alone in a hot car. If the child seems distressed, use the necessary force to remove them from the vehicle.
  • Review vehicle safety with any childcare providers
  • Do a visual sweep of your entire vehicle before leaving and locking the doors.
  • During busy times, such as holidays or get-togethers, be especially aware of your child’s whereabouts.

Don’t let temporary distraction become a tragedy. Keep your family safe and, stay smart, and stay aware.

 

Navigating Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Navigating insurance coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

gavel pounding

 

Florida enacted autism insurance reform on May 2, 2008, under the Steven Geller Autism Coverage Act. As a result, large group health insurance plans and HMO large group health plans provide coverage for diagnostic screening, intervention and treatment of ASD. However, coverage for ASD is not required by state law for small employer (50 or less employees) group plans or self-insured plans.

HOW DO I VERIFY WHETHER I HAVE ASD COVERAGE?

To verify whether your policy covers treatment for Autism, check your policy booklet under the terms “Applied Behavior Therapy,” “ABA Therapy” or “Autism Therapy.” If access to your policy booklet is not readily available, contact your insurance plan directly using the telephone number listed on the front (or back) of your insurance card. If you verify by telephone, make sure you  keep a record of the reference number for the call, and the name of the representative you spoke with.

 

INSURANCE & CBG

Calculator, receipt, and pen on a desk for insurance

After you have completed the new client paperwork, our billing department will take care of the insurance process. CBG will contact your child’s insurance company to verify benefits for ABA therapy. The billing department will compose an explanation of benefits and parameters of payment document detailing the cost for ABA therapy services.

Benefits will vary depending on the employer group plan. HMO plans generally have a copayment per day with a designated out-of-pocket maximum amount. Most PPO plans utilize a deductible which must be satisfied; afterwards, the plan will cover 80 percent of the allowed charges while you cover the other 20 percent. As with the HMO plans, the PPO policies have a maximum out-of-pocket amount that must be satisfied. With both policy types, once the out-of-pocket maximum has been satisfied, the insurance company will cover 100 percent of the allowed charges.

 

Cayer Behavioral Group’s billing procedure is as follows:

  • services are provided by your child’s therapist(s);

  • the following week, the services are submitted to the billing department for submission to the insurance company;

  • the claims are submitted electronically through the individual insurance carriers clearinghouse (or website);

  • your insurance plan generally remits payment within 10 business days; and,

  • CBG will send you an invoice for the copayment or deductible amount due on the 10th and 25th of each month.

Contact Cayer Behavioral Group today to let us help you find your new normal!

happy family laughing in the car

Activities For a Child with Autism

For a parent of a child with Autism, fun and playtime can be stressful to consider; it may be difficult to think of activities to keep a child with Autism engaged in a fun and safe way.

Crafts, songs and games will help with fine motor movements and can help the child stay focused, associate words with objects to improve language and numerical skills, and improve social interaction with others (from taking turns to playing imaginative games).

 

Crafts provide sensory experiences that can stimulate attention and foster calm, and crafts involving the alphabet, matching and sensory bottles/areas are especially effective. Alphabet letters and blocks help develop word recognition and expand sight word knowledge by physically building sight words. You can get creative with materials too – try using blocks, magnets and puzzle pieces as well as paper.

 

Matching activities could include matching colors on two objects that are different in size or appearance or creating your own sorter. Take a sippy cup and poke holes into the top. Color around the holes with different colors and give your child color-coordinated pipe cleaners to match to each hole. Another way to facilitate matching is cutting a symmetrical picture in half so your child can practice matching halves.

 

A fun activity for a child with Autism is creating “calm down bottles” filled with water, glitter and glue (and sealed with glue at the top to prevent leaking). Another engaging sensory activity is adding texture to everyday toys. Whether it’s a plastic egg, a plastic ball or even a piece of paper, adding texture with fuzzy sticks, buttons, pompoms and more will greatly aid stimulation. Plus, all you need is glue and the items!

 

Songs help engage a child because of the singsong nature and repetition. You can find on the internet for days of the week, months of the year, planets in order and so on, but you can also make up a song for daily tasks like going to the bathroom or getting dressed. These songs can include physical movement like jumping or skipping, which creates harder activities for the child to promote independence.

baby-song-sleep

Games like I Spy or guessing games help expand descriptions but also develop focus to note these expanded descriptions. I Spy allows an object to be described as much as possible and allows the child to process all of the given clues before coming to a solution. I Spy strengthens the use of the sense of sight because the more descriptive the clue is, the easier it is to conclude. Guessing games aid sensory stimulation because the child can close his or her eyes and touch or hold an item to figure out what it is. For nonverbal children, you can provide pictures of objects and allow them to select which object they had. This teaches children they need to use more than just sight to get the correct answer – they can use touch, smell and maybe even taste or hearing!

The most important thing with these activities is to keep the child physically engaged with hands-on activities; inappropriate behaviors usually begin with disengagement. The options are endless; have fun!

The Importance of an Early Diagnosis for Children with Autism

A child’s first steps are both the scariest and the most significant. Overcoming that first fear sets the foundation to conquering future obstacles. From there, kids learn to run, ride a bike, and play soccer. Along with a child’s first steps they also discover a crowd of support as their parents cheer them on to keep going.

photo of parent holding child

Parents of children with Autism also have a vital first step to take: seeking the diagnosis.

No, it isn’t fun. The road will be bumpy. There will be obstacles. But it will put the child on the right path to reach their full potential. Parents will find the support of those who will advocate for their child, answer all their questions, and most importantly, celebrate the milestones.

 

The following steps will help guide parents during the diagnosis process:

  1. Consult your family doctor or pediatrician. They will refer you to an Autism specialist or a team of specialists, including but not limited to: a child psychologist, a child psychiatrist, a pediatric neurologist, a speech pathologist and/or a developmental pediatrician.
  2. Follow through with the evaluation. Getting evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder consists of parent interviews, a medical exam, a hearing test, and direct observations. Clinicians will assess the child’s level of social behavior, social understanding, speech and language, play behavior, motor skills and adaptive behavior (ex: eating, dressing and toileting)
  3. Gather resources to begin a treatment program as soon as possible. Research has indicated that undergoing intensive behavioral therapy as a toddler can significantly improve cognitive and language skills in younger children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autistic child being held by parent

 

With an early diagnosis, little ones with Autism can receive intensive therapy as young as 15 months old. Therapists, a part of the support team, develop unique, individualized treatment interventions to build onto the child’s strengths. From emphasizing eye contact to reinforcing every little sound as an infant, a 5-year-old with Autism will be prepared to play with peers, ask for help, or tell stories upon their first day of kindergarten. The greatest developments will come from prompt action and a readiness to learn.

“Growth is never by mere chance. It is a result of forces working together” – James Cash Penney

Written by: Tori Mason, Registered Behavior Technician

 

ABA and Early Intervention – A Success Story

When Peter first became a client with Cayer Behavioral Group, he was three years old, made minimal eye contact, spoke only a few words, and could not sit in one spot for more than a couple of seconds.

Peter would engage in self-injuring behavior, in the form of pinching or grabbing his face, arms, and legs. He did this anytime he was denied access to desired items, or when he was told to do something he did not want to do.  The first day he was taught to use the bathroom on his own, he engaged in an hourlong tantrum because he did not want to take his diaper off.

Peter started preschool this fall where he attended half-days for three days per week.  He had never been in a school setting before, and he had a lot to learn, such as:

 

  • Standing and walking in line with peers
  • Sitting in a group
  • Following group demands
  • Complying with his teacher’s requests
  • Engaging in non-preferred activities
  • Learning all the school rules
  • Interacting with new children

 

Initially, his CBG therapists were with Peter the entire time he was at school to help him learn how to be independent and successful within his classroom.

Through effective and efficient ABA (applied behavior analysis) procedures and programs, his CBG therapists were able to phase out of his classroom setting entirely within four months.  Peter now attends his preschool five days a week for three hours a day, all by himself!  

Peter learned to appropriately use the bathroom on his own in three months and has not had any accidents within his school setting.  He learned to sit for an extended period of time, to follow classroom routine, and appropriately interact and share with his peers.  

As he continues to become more independent with his daily routine, his CBG therapists will continue to phase out until he no longer requires services.

Increased independence and success is always the goal at Cayer Behavioral Group, one student at a time.

 

Signs that your child may have Autism

Signs That Your Child Might Have Autism

1 out of every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the US.

How do you know if you should seek out a diagnosis or additional help?

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) “is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences” (Autism Speaks, 2017)

This broad range of challenges is indicative of why the diagnosis is on a spectrum. Every child experiences the world around them differently. With every child being unique, how do I know if my child is showing early signs?

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically demonstrate some important indicators around 18 months to three years of age. Here are signs to look for:

  • Your child is not reaching the typical developmental milestones such as no babbling by 1 year of age or not saying any words by 16 months of age. For a reference sheet of developmental milestones, read more here.
  • A lack of engagement in social interaction, whether it be between mom and baby or peers at the park. Your children should be able to enjoy a fun game of peek-a-boo by the end of year one and smile at mom or dad when they are present. In addition, by the age of two, children show interest in peers and want to play together, or alongside in the same game, instead of alone.

Low engagement in social interaction

  • Engaging in “odd’ repetitive play behaviors. These behaviors are referred to as stimming and can include waving items in front of the face, lining up toys which are not intended to be played with in that manner, or hand flapping.
  • Your child seems to be developing at the typical rate, but then regresses. For example, the child engages in clapping at least 3 times a day, but now the child won’t clap, even if asked or told to do so. This regression could also include language. For example, the child was engaging in approximations for words like “mamama” for mom or “ball” when seeing a ball, but now the language has not been observed nor have new words been created by the child.

Recognizing these signs of ASD is the first step to seeking help!

Although some children experience several of the delays, some only demonstrate one. If any of the above behaviors are observed by your child,  professionals recommend seeking out a diagnosis by your Pediatrician, Neurologist, or Psychologist in order for your child to receive the additional care and attention needed for them to have the most successful, independent, and happiest life possible.