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Fall is finally here!

As the cool air blows and light jackets emerge out of our closets, open enrollment is just around the corner. Insurance can be tricky. While making sure you are getting the right plan for you and your family, take these ideas into consideration:

  • How often you tend to visit the doctor
  • If a member of your family has a special need
  • Whether you anticipate a change in your health care needs
  • Whether you have more dependents to cover, like a new baby
  • If you take regular prescription medications
  • How much the plan will cost you

These concepts are very important when considering new insurance plans, because you want to make sure your family is taken care of in an affordable way. To verify if your prospective or current plan covers autism treatment, review the policy booklet for the terms: Autism Therapy, Applied Behavior Therapy, or ABA Therapy. If your booklet isn’t readily available, please contact the provider and ask if they provide services.

Cayer Behavioral Group (CBG) works with a variety of insurance plans and we handle all of the processing and billing for your child’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services. Cayer Behavioral Group accepts the following insurance plans:

If your insurance is not listed, please contact our office and we will be able to discuss other potential options for services. Once you fill out CBG’s new client paperwork, our billing department will contact the insurance provider to verify benefits for therapy, will submit services outlined by therapists to the insurance company, and send an invoice for the copayment or deductible amount due on the 10th and 25th of every month.

We are dedicated to serving our clients and their families to the best of our ability. If you have any questions pertaining to CBG’s behavior therapy services or billing process, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Happy insurance shopping! #autismawarenesseveryday

Whew! Happy October, everyone! Can you believe we are already here? While reflecting on the past month, we realized that Mother Earth showed us her wrath with many, many storms! In Tallahassee were lucky enough to bypass much of the damage from major hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. However, we know that many were not so fortunate. We want to make sure as many people are as safe and aware as possible. Preparing for a storm while acknowledging the needs of your child with autism can be a hard pill to swallow, but that is why we are here to give some tips and tricks to make the process easier!

A great start to preparing for a storm is to have open conversation with your kiddos. In case they have a fear of storms, make sure to always validate their fears while assuring them that they are safe. You could even show them that the sounds of thunder and lightning by mimicking the sounds with pots and pans or other items around the house. Once they realize they can make the sound on their own, it won’t be such a scary unknown.

Having open conversation and presenting information in a way your kids can understand is another great way to ease anxiety. Weather Wiz Kids is a wonderful website that explains all aspects of weather in a fun way not only your kids, but for you, too!! You can check out their website here.

Prepping for picky eaters can be a doozy when storms come around. Make sure you have enough of your child’s preferred foods for all necessary food groups. Ensuring they have plenty vitamins and protein is always important, but finding these in non-perishables can be tricky! The key is to prep early and prep a lot. If your child’s favorite veggie is green beans, don’t be afraid to get 10 cans of green beans because there is no such thing as too much!

Finally, make sure you and your family are having fun! Stock up on card games, board games and your kiddo’s favorite sensory toys. Mad Libs, flashlight tag and charades are fun ways to engage the whole family if there is no power. Check out this website for 100 things to do with your family when there is no power!

Storms can bring many unknowns, so we need to make sure we have done everything in our power to prepare. Once that is done, the rest is up to Mother Nature herself! If you are in the projected path for Tropical Storm Nate, please stay safe! We want to extend our thoughts to all those affected by the 2017 storms. If you would like to help those in need, please visit the Red Cross for more information. #autismawarenesseveryday

 

Let’s take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for making it through the first month of school we did it! As a parent of a child with autism, it’s especially important to maintain positive and continued communication with teachers. There are so many day-to-day happenings that are important for both parents and teachers to know about. Here are some helpful ways to maintain a strong relationship with your child’s teacher.

    1. Ask for their preferred method of contact. This is important. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to find out you’ve been writing emails to someone who never checks their inbox —  yikes! Asking them for the best way to reach them from the beginning can clear up any confusion early on.
    2. Try to communicate outside of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. IEP meetings are a great way for teachers, parents and therapists (if your child has one who comes to school) to sit down and review the child’s progress and where they need improvement. However, sometimes things can’t wait to be shared at the next IEP meeting. Setting up meeting times in-between IEP meetings can help parents, teachers and the child tremendously.
    3. Be respectful. As a parent of a child with autism, your child’s needs are evident. A teacher can have many other students in the same classroom with varying needs. We need to respect that our child is not the only one in the equation. Trust that the teacher is doing the best they can to not only meet your child’s needs, but those of their peers.
    4. Give them your tips. A child can have many teachers and faculty come in and out of their life. Communicating your tips and tricks to your child’s specific needs can be a tremendous help. Also, it may give you some relief that the teacher is going to use the same techniques that you do at home. Consistency in the life of your child with autism can be beneficial to them.
    5. Remember: This is a team effort. Everyone involved wants to see your kiddo succeed. Knowing what they do at home can help the teacher throughout the school day — and knowing what they did at school can help you at home. With effort being shown and communicated on both sides, you can expect to see some positive results this school year.

 

 

We are all busy. Sometimes, maintaining communication with a teacher can’t fit into your schedule. We totally get it. But occasionally using and sticking to a few of these methods can make a difference in the school year. We already conquered one month, so here’s to a happy and healthy nine more! #autismawarenesseveryday

On September 7th, we were fortunate enough to support one of our valued community partners: The Hang Tough Foundation! The foundation’s mission is to take care families who have a child affected by a chronic or life altering illness or special needs. This mission is very important and special to us as we do the same for our clients and families who are affected by autism. The Hang Tough Foundation held their third annual Cascades Goes Gold event last week to aid in fulfilling their mission!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the kiddos, face painting, giant Connect-Four, and gold Tallahassee Rocks painting were some of the fun activities provided at this wonderful event. Cayer Behavioral Group had a special visit from our friend Elsa, too! We loved playing with some Hang Tough heroes and their families as well as some of our clients and families who came to support such an amazing community. Commissioner Richardson issued a special proclamation to some of the Hang Tough Heroes from the City of Tallahassee! The proclamation officially declared September as Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month for the City of Tallahassee. Cascades was truly painted gold as the fountains and amphitheater glowed with a golden tint. The evening ended with a half-mile walk led by Heroes and their families to honor those who have faced and are facing childhood cancer.

Our partnership with the Hang Tough Foundation is one filled with joy. Throughout the month of September we will host a golden tricycle to honor the foundation and those affected by pediatric cancer, chronic illness, and special needs. As a business working and advocating for children and families affected by autism, we hope that events similar to the beautiful one hosted by the Hang Tough Foundation can shed a light on challenges and victories our children face daily. Please visit The Hang Tough Foundation’s website for more information and upcoming events! #autismawarenesseveryday #HTFGoesGold

Let’s talk about a full house! Unfortunately, we are not in San Francisco and Danny Tanner won’t be doing our spring cleaning. But, many of us do understand what it’s like to have a house full of excitement, and sometimes a bit of crazy. Adding a child with autism to the mix can bring just as many questions as there are good times. Each sibling is equally important, but sometimes the immediate needs of your child with autism seem to be a priority.  So, how do you make sure all the kids feel equally valued? Have no fear, CBG is here! We have some helpful pointers to make your family as happy as possible!

  1. Keep each child informed. Everyone in the family has the right to understand what your child with autism goes through. Do it early and do it often! Siblings may need help understanding that their brother or sister doesn’t process social interaction or sarcasm well. Therefore, if there is a situation where they want to play or tell a joke, and their sibling with autism doesn’t react how they hoped, they understand.
  2. Have open and honest conversation. Ask them how they feel; answer any and all questions; let them know they are heard. If they don’t want to talk at that moment, just let them know that you’re there for them. It will make a world of difference.
  3. Determine designated alone time for each child. Your child with autism needs special time with their parents, and so do their siblings. For example, have each child help with dinner one night a week or take them to the bookstore after school. Doing little things with one child at a time can help make them feel valued and important.
  4. Not everything has to be done as a family. Some events that involve high levels of sensory stimulation, crowds, and unknown variables may not be appropriate for your child with autism. That is completely okay! There are places that may be great for your child with autism that their brothers and sisters may not enjoy. Finding fun things to do as a family is important, but remember, it’s okay if that is not always the case!
  5. Find support for siblings. Those who will most understand what the siblings of your child with autism are going through are kids and adults who are experiencing the same thing. There are tons of resources available! Here are some that you may consider checking out:

Little bumps in the road may happen, and that is okay! The goal is to have everyone in your family feel equally important and valued, especially when autism is in the mix. The days may be long, but the years are short and time is precious! We hope that these tips can help strengthen the bonds in your family and beyond! #autismawarenesseveryday

 

Having a child sit down and focus on homework after a long day at school can be an uphill battle. Kids with autism often have more problems at homework time than their peers. Please, have no fear. Cayer Behavioral Group is here to help you and your child get through homework scotch-free!

Before starting, make sure the homework assignment is understood by your child. Having clear instructions outlined (in tiny steps) may make a world of difference when they are trying to understand the purpose of their homework. Also, make sure the homework is in step with your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Don’t be afraid to refer to your child’s IEP for help when communicating with the teacher and the overall immediate goal.

Next, place your child in an environment where they can succeed. Establish a designated homework-spot and time for you and your child, or even the whole family! This way, everyone in the household is aware: it is time to focus and distractions and interruptions are very limited. This way, you and your child can focus on what’s important–their success!

Last but not least, motivate and reinforce your child’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small! And, don’t be afraid of taking breaks. If a five minute task is taking ten to fifteen minutes, thank them for focusing and give them a little, well deserved, breather. Thanking them for focusing or completing a series of problems and allowing them to walk away from the task at hand will make a massive difference in your child’s motivation and mentality about homework. If your child sees their efforts are noticed and appreciated, homework time is bound to be more enjoyable!

Homework time may not always be smooth sailing, but Cayer Behavioral Group hopes these tips lighten the load! Remember, you are never alone and everyone involved wants to see your child succeed! #autismawarenesseveryday

 

          A strong parent-teacher relationship is always important. When you have a child with Autism, it is essential. Consistent parent-teacher communication can make a tremendous difference in your child’s learning and progress. As always, Cayer Behavioral Group is here to take a little bit of that weight of your shoulders and answer all your questions!

          To work toward a positive relationship with your child’s teacher, schedule a one-on-one appointment with them. That way you will be able to specifically talk about your child’s needs and what is expected of them.

          Before going to the meeting, have a list of questions prepared. There’s no such thing as too many questions! Some questions you can ask include:

  1. What is my child expected to learn this year?
  2. How will this be evaluated?
  3. How will my child’s progress be monitored?
  4. What is the best way for us to stay in contact?
  5. What types of tests and evaluations will my child have to take this year?
  6. Is my child participating in class activities?
  7. How are my child’s social skills?
  8. Does my child seem happy at school?
  9. Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
  10. Do you think my child is reaching his/her potential?
  11. What can I do at home to help support his/her academic progress?

          Remember, don’t be afraid to continue to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Teachers understand that some things are hard to comprehend, and and it is their job to help.

          Throughout the meeting, be yourself! You and the teacher both want the very best for your child. After the meeting, talk with your child and give them an appropriate overview of what was discussed. Ideally, everyone involved should have a clear understanding.

          Don’t forget that you are not the first person to want specific information regarding their child’s education. Everyone involved wants to see your child succeed, and with a strong relationship with your child and their teacher, anything is possible!

 

          This weekend, August 4th-6th, 2017, is Florida’s Annual Tax Free Weekend! Knowing what to buy for your child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may sometimes be a tall order! Cayer Behavioral Group is here to keep it simple!

Here are a few products that you may get some great use of:

Those marked with an asterisk (*) qualify for tax-free benefits!

  1. Markers, printer paper, notebook paper, pencils, pens*
    • Great to have for crafts and having extras for kids is never too much!
  2. 7-pocket file organizers*
    • Can be used to organize all of your students’ or child’s Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
  3. Construction paper*
    • Perfect for labeling and crafts!
  4. Notebooks, drawing pads, and journals
    • Great way for kids to keep up with their own notes and drawings while teaching personal responsibility!
  5. Personal white boards and Expo markers*
    • Great for individual instruction and practicing, reusable, and easy clean-up!
  6. Contact Paper-Clear Adhesive Roll*
    • Can be used to wrap around books to help prevent tears, and water damage.
  7. iPads or personal tablets*
    • Wonderful for increased communication and can offer many apps and programs to stimulate creativity!
  8. Large dry-erase wall calendar*
    • Perfect for keeping up with your and your kid’s busy schedule and is reusable for many months and years to come!
  9. Bean bag chairs
    • Great for a spacious room to add dynamic seating and personal space for kids or yourself!
  10. Brain-Break Cards
    • Offer fantastic and varying ways to either calm, focus, or energize kids! Noise-Reducing headphones*
  11.  Noise-Reducing headphones*
    • Helps students focus on the task at hand, and reduces external distractions
  12. Soothing Sands Sand Box
    • Sand often gives kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder awesome sensory input.  And hey, who doesn’t love sand?
  13. Pencil Grips*
    • Helps kids gently place fingers in the proper position for gripping, so they can master fine motor and handwriting skills!
  14. DNA Ball
    • A great tactile, fidget, and visual toy!
  15. Chewable Pencil Toppers
    • Helps kids with oral motor sensory needs and helps them maintain focus while writing!

          Shopping for school does not have to be a hassle! Here at Cayer Behavioral Group, we want to make getting ready for the new school year as easy and fun-filled as possible for the families and communities we serve! For more information on Tax Free Weekend, visit the Florida Department of Revenue’s website. Cheers to an awesome school year. Happy shopping!

#autismawarenesseveryday #cbg

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

What is ABA?

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is the most effective therapeutic intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is successful with both children and adults. The focus of ABA intervention is to improve a person’s quality of life by teaching skills necessary for day-to-day functioning, and to decrease behaviors that may inhibit success. Typically, ABA interventions rely on the use of strategically applied reinforcers that motivate the individual to learn a skill, or refrain from engaging in an unwanted behavior.

ABA is a form of therapy based on B. F. Skinner’s theory of behaviorism, which focuses on observable behaviors. ABA therapy is applied in a variety of ways, but each therapeutic intervention is customized to be meaningful to the individual.

ASD kid looking at a globe - ABA blog

Why is ABA so popular?

ABA is proven to be effective! Studies show that 30-50% of children with ASD who begin receiving quality, intensive ABA therapy from a young age go on to succeed in regular education classrooms. Moreover, their success continues to improve well into the future. ABA interventions also help improve family relationships by increasing positive behavior within the home, and enhance social skills, such as appropriate eye contact, reciprocal conversation, making and accepting bids, as well as many others.

Specific, child centered  interventions are designed to teach functional skills that are important to the child. Examples may include: washing hands, tying a shoe, or a job-specific skill. The specific needs of the individual drive the design of his or her interventions. As a result, ABA-based interventions open up endless possibilities for learning and success, and encourage positive change in the lives of individuals and their families.

Kids playing in the classroom ABA approach

The Growing Field of ABA

As ABA grows in popularity, the number of services provided grows. Every day, more and more ABA-based services are provided in schools and in the community. A growing number of teachers and staff are embracing ABA and welcoming it into schools and classrooms. There has also been an increasing number of opportunities for older individuals with ASD. This makes it easier for adults with ASD to contribute their unique skills throughout the community.