Before Beginning Therapy
Am I eligible? There are a lot of factors that go into eligibility for our program. Please read on for information about cost, types of clients we serve, and more information that can help you determine if your child might be right for our program and if our program might be right for you.
Is your program right for my child? It’s hard for you or for us to know if we’ll be a good fit until we meet. The best way to find out of our program is right for you child is to come in for an open house and discuss your needs with one of our program experts. Open houses are totally free – both in terms of cost and obligation – and held at minimum weekly.
What ages does your program serve? We specialize in seeing clients 6 and under, though we do work with clients older than that. We do not take new clients older than age 14. We may see existing clients up to age 22.
My child is not formally diagnosed with autism, can you help? YES! We are far more concerned with a child’s needs than his or her label. We may, however, need to discuss funding in a more detailed manner with you, as many insurance companies only cover our service for specific formal diagnoses.
Do you accept Medicaid? No, we do not accept Medicaid. Our service is not covered by Medicaid. We do accept Title 21 Ped-i-care clients.
Do you accept my insurance? Most private insurances (BCBS, Aetna, etc.) are accepted. We are in-network (or treated as in-network) with many insurance companies. Visit our Funding page or contact us if you’re not sure about your coverage.
Do you accept the McKay Scholarship? Yes, we do accept the McKay scholarship.
Can I use the McKay Scholarship AND my private insurance to pay for treatment? Yes, you may use both forms of payments, but each must be used for its specified service type ONLY. You CAN NEVER use your insurance to pay for the school program (and vice versa). We DO offer a steep discount for clients receiving one-on-one therapy who are also in our school program.
Can I talk with other families who use your program? Florida Autism Center is not permitted to give you contact information for our clients due to HIPAA restrictions. However, we are fortunate to have several current and past families who are more than happy to share their experiences with you. Let us know if you would like a few names and numbers.
Learning at FAC . . . Read on to determine if our curriculum and programming will be right for you.
What will my child work on in your EARLY INTERVENTION (EI) program? Our EI program focusing on language acquisition, social skills, and all pre-requisite skills your child would need to be successful in a mainstream kindergarten classroom. Mainstream school is ALWAYS our goal for our little ones, and we will do everything we can to get your child ready.
My little one is in a pre-K setting, should I stop school there to come to you? It depends. Some of our kids are thriving and learning social skills in their existing pre-K, and we don’t want to take meaningful interactions with typical peers away from them. However, if the child is severely behind in language skills, having trouble engaging socially, displaying behaviors that are difficult to manage in a “typical” pre-K or not learning to his or her fullest potential in pre-K, pulling the child out to attend our program might be a better option. Basically, if your child needs intensive help NOW so that he or she can really achieve socially and academically later, we will suggest making our program your full-time choice. Our goal is ALWAYS to get you INTO a general education program. We DO NOT want your little one to be with us for school if we can avoid it. The very best marketing we can do is to produce children who don’t need therapy or additional support once they enter kindergarten.
What will my child learn if he or she enters your SCHOOL program? Our school program DOES NOT focus on traditional academics. Our school program is best suited to young people who are in greater need of functional communication, daily living skills, and skills toward independence than they are of a diploma. If your child is on par academically but needs social support or needs work to stay on task, our after-school program might be a good option for you.
What will my child learn in your AFTER-SCHOOL program? Kids in our after-school program are usually with us as a supplement to their public or traditional private school program. We focus on the nuances that may be missed for a child with Asperger’s, such as navigating the social realm of school; or, we work on foundational skills that allow our students to remain in a “typical” school setting, such as homework completion, reading comprehension, and study skills. Parent training is often an important piece of the success of students in our after-school program.
Can you help ME help my child? Yes! We provide and highly encourage parent training. We can train you in the techniques and programs that we use for your use at home, and we can help you trouble-shoot issues occurring at home. We work WITH you when it comes to parent training.We appreciate your expertise on your child, and we want to be a team.
What assessments and programs does FAC use? We’re an eclectic kind of place. We pull from all the things we think are great, and constantly update what we’re using based on the latest research literature. Some of our current favorites are the VB-MAPP, ProLoQuo2Go, HeadSprout, and several great ABA programming books. Additionally, the Florida Autism Center has a program bank of hundreds of programs built by our staff in addition to just about every autism app and piece of technology we can get our hands on.
Will my child miss out on holidays and special events if we chose your program? Florida Autism Center provides many special activities for our children. We will keep you informed concerning field trips, book fair, picture day, summer camp, parents’ night out, and other activities. We will also ask for your help in fundraisers such as candy or coupon sales. Most of our events are planned by parents just like you. Please talk with us about getting involved.
If my child is in one-on-one therapy, how will he or she learn social skills? When your child enters our Early Intervention program or our After-School One-on-One program, he or she will have a therapist assigned just for him or her each hour that they are with us. While your child will have a staff person focusing only on them, that does not mean that they will always be working alone. We encourage circle time, story time, art, music, and movement times, and other socially based events several times daily. Your child will have lots of opportunities to interact with peers, he or she will just have the added benefit of a trained professional there to make sure those interactions run smoothly!
It sounds like a good fit! What’s next?
How do I schedule an Open House? Calling the location of your choice or e-mailing us through the Contact page is a great way to request an open house and get a little preliminary information. Open Houses are more of a formal meeting than a drop in, so please plan to arrive a few minutes ahead of the scheduled Open House time given to you when you initially make contact with us. Your Open House may be a one-on-one event between you and a staff or may be an event in which up to 3 other families are present. Open Houses are for you to learn about us and get your questions answered, and we schedule a different appointment to talk about the specifics of your case if the Open House produces a mutual desire to further look into service (See the “Assessment” details below).
What should I bring to an Open House? Please bring a your insurance card and insurance information, a copy of your child’s current IEP, and your confirmation form from filing intent for the McKay scholarship (if interested in our school program). If you happen to have proof of diagnosis from a licensed psychologist or physician, bring that, too. You are also welcome to bring anything else you think might be relevant in giving us information about your child.
How do I file for intent to use a McKay Scholarship? If you would like to file intent prior to your visit, or would like to learn more about the McKay scholarship, you may do to by visiting the Office of School Choice website.
How do I find out if my insurance covers treatment? Luckily for you, we can usually do that for you. If you’d like to check on your coverage prior to an Open House, you can contact our Chief Financial Officer, Todd, directly at Todd@FLAutism.com. He is AMAZING at navigating insurance providers, and will be more than happy to help you. If you don’t check in with Todd prior to the Open House, it’s ok! We will check your coverage (always without cost) in the days following your Open House.
When will you meet my child? Following your Open House, if we all agree service may be an option, we will schedule an assessment with your child. During the assessment, we will discuss specifics about your little one, and will get to do our favorite part, meet your baby!
What do I need to bring for my child’s assessment?
Please be sure to bring supplies and treats for your child. It is helpful for staff to have highly preferred items during the assessment, so please be sure to bring us some of your child’s favorite things, clearly labeled with his or her name. Treats, drinks, diapers and wipes, a change of clothes, and other needed items are appropriate for an assessment. We will only feed your child what you send, especially as we are mindful of our client’s dietary restrictions.
How long is the assessment? Typically, and assessment is 1 – 2 hours. When scheduling, staff will specify the length of your upcoming assessment.
Should I stay with my child during the assessment? The staff person conducting your assessment will typically request a period of time with you either at the beginning or end of the session to discuss your goals for your child. Your assessor will also typically want to have some time with your child without you present. A general guide is that 75% of the assessment with be with the child only, and 25% will be with you and your child.