Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Caring for over 6 million people affected in the U.S.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is characterized by challenges with communication, social skills and restricted or repetitive behaviors. The prevalence rate for autism is climbing1; it is currently estimated that 1 in 54 children have autism. The cause of ASD is unknown and there is currently no cure for it. For most, autism is a lifelong condition. However, research shows that early diagnosis (as young as 14 months2) and intervention can improve a child’s development.
The impact on families and society
New Directions innovative solutions
The New Directions ARP is comprised of passionate, skilled clinical experts who excel at making sure that families get high-quality treatment, led by a leadership team of nationally recognized experts in the autism field. New Directions has developed a thoughtful, clinically sound model to serve our members.
- A model that is based upon collaboration with members and providers.
- A multidisciplinary team of clinical experts, including behavior analysts, clinical social workers and psychiatrists.
- Medical policies that are based on best practice standards published by industry leaders and approved by a panel of top-quality providers.
- Program development input from a committee of high-quality, in-network Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) providers who provide expertise on topics such as best practice, medical policy and areas of needed provider and member education.
A partner in the journey
Parent training is an integral component of ABA treatment and service delivery. During these training sessions, families meet directly with the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA) practitioner to review the treatment plan and practice ways to implement the interventions that have been recommended. The practice to implement the treatment plan can occur via role-play with the BCBA followed by direct practice between caregivers and the child. This direct practice allows families to use behavioral strategies in real time. Examples of strategies that can be taught to families may include:
- Increasing the child’s ability to ask for his/her favorite item or activity.
- Increasing the child’s ability to follow instructions during self-care routines.
- Teaching ways to manage and effectively respond to challenging behaviors.
90% are satisfied with how much their provider involves them in treatment.
92% are satisfied with the way that their provider explains things to them.
94% state that their child was helped by the services that they received.
85% state that their child’s social skills have improved in the last 12 months due to treatment.
85% state that their child is better able to cope with daily problems due to the treatment that he/she has received in the last 12 months.
- Xu, G., Strathearn, L., Liu B., O’Brien M., Kopelman T. G., Zhu J., et al. (2019). Prevalence and treatment patterns of autism spectrum disorder in the United States, 2016. JAMA Pediatrics, 173, 153–159. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4208
- Pierce K, Gazestani VH, Bacon E, et al. (2019). Evaluation of the Diagnostic Stability of the Early Autism Spectrum Disorder Phenotype in the General Population Starting at 12 Months. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(6), 578–587. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.0624
- Zuvekas, S.H., Grosse, S.D., Lavelle, T.A. et al. (2021). Healthcare Costs of Pediatric Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States, 2003–2015. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51, 2950–2958. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04704-z
- Callander, E. J., & Lindsay, D. B. (2018). The impact of childhood autism spectrum disorder on parent’s labour force participation: Can parents be expected to be able to re-join the labour force? Autism, 22(5), 542–548. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361316688331
- Lushkin, V., O’Brien, K.H. (2016). Parental Mental Health: Addressing the Unmet needs of Caregivers for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.09.507
- Dykens, E. M., & Lambert, W. (2013). Trajectories of diurnal cortisol in mothers of children with autism and other developmental disabilities: relations to health and mental health. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 43(10), 2426–2434. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1791-1
- Seymour, M., Giallo, R., & Wood, C. E. (2018). Bio-ecological factors associated with the psychological distress of fathers of children with autism spectrum disorder: A population-based study of Australian families. Autism, 22(7), 825-836. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361317709971