Arkansas Autism Resources

Discover and access Arkansas autism resources for a brighter future. Empowering communities through support, therapy, and specialized programs.

April 30, 2024

Autism Resources in Arkansas

Arkansas provides a range of resources to support individuals with autism and their families. These resources encompass various therapy options and developmental programs aimed at enhancing the well-being and development of individuals on the autism spectrum.

Therapy Options for Autism

Therapy plays a crucial role in supporting individuals with autism. Arkansas offers a variety of therapy options, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is widely recognized as an effective intervention for autism. ABA therapy focuses on behavior modification techniques to help individuals develop essential skills and reduce challenging behaviors.

Developmental Programs in Arkansas

Developmental programs in Arkansas aim to provide specialized support and education for individuals with autism. One notable program is the STEP program (Structured Teaching Using Evidenced-Based Practices) offered by Easterseals Arkansas in Little Rock. This developmental preschool classroom integrates a special education teacher and speech therapist to create a curriculum that focuses on teaching good social skills, compliant behavior, managing obsessions, and enhancing language proficiency.

Additionally, specialized schools like New Focus Academy in Arkansas offer individualized programs tailored to the unique abilities of students with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. New Focus Academy provides a supportive campus environment where students can build skills through brain training activities based on the latest research. They also emphasize vocational and life skills training to prepare students for a successful transition into adulthood.

By providing therapy options and developmental programs, Arkansas strives to empower individuals with autism and provide them with the necessary resources to thrive and reach their full potential. These resources are vital in supporting individuals with autism and their families throughout their journey.

Specialized Schools in Arkansas

When it comes to providing specialized education and support for children with autism in Arkansas, there are dedicated schools that offer tailored programs to meet their unique needs. Two such schools in Arkansas are New Focus Academy and vocational and life skills support programs.

New Focus Academy Programs

New Focus Academy is a specialized school that focuses on helping Arkansas children with autism excel academically, socially, and independently. They employ evidence-based approaches to learning and skill development, providing an atmosphere of support and success.

The programs offered by New Focus Academy are designed for teenagers from Arkansas and other states who may be dealing with a variety of issues such as autism, mood disorders, anxiety, academic difficulties, and sensory issues. Through individualized and evidence-based programs, New Focus Academy aims to address the specific needs of each student and help them reach their full potential.

One of the key focuses of New Focus Academy is to provide vocational and life skills training to Arkansas students with autism. They understand the importance of preparing students for adulthood and independence. By offering vocational and life skills support, they aim to equip students with the necessary skills to graduate and find success as they transition into adulthood. The supportive campus environment at New Focus Academy provides a nurturing space for students to develop and grow.

Vocational and Life Skills Support

In addition to specialized schools like New Focus Academy, vocational and life skills support programs are also available to assist Arkansas students with autism. These programs focus on developing essential skills that will enable individuals to lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Vocational and life skills support programs typically provide training in areas such as job readiness, social skills, money management, self-care, and communication. By equipping individuals with these skills, they gain the necessary tools to navigate various aspects of daily life and enhance their independence.

These support programs often collaborate with schools, community organizations, and employers to create opportunities for individuals with autism to apply their skills in real-world settings. By fostering partnerships and providing ongoing support, vocational and life skills programs in Arkansas contribute to the overall well-being and success of individuals with autism.

By offering specialized education, vocational training, and life skills support, Arkansas is taking proactive measures to empower individuals with autism and provide them with the tools necessary to thrive academically, socially, and vocationally. These programs play a vital role in supporting the unique needs of individuals with autism and facilitating their integration into society.

Support Services in Arkansas

When it comes to accessing autism resources and support in Arkansas, there are organizations dedicated to providing assistance and guidance to individuals and families affected by autism. Two notable support services in Arkansas are the Arkansas Autism Foundation and the Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center (AAROC).

Arkansas Autism Foundation

The Arkansas Autism Foundation is an organization that aims to support individuals and families affected by autism in Arkansas. They provide a wide range of services, including autism-friendly events, workshops, and training opportunities. These events and activities create a supportive and inclusive environment for individuals with autism and their families.

Located at 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road, Suite 103, #112, Little Rock, AR 72223, the Arkansas Autism Foundation offers various ways for individuals to get involved and make a difference in the autism community. They welcome friendly, outgoing, and enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about promoting independence for individuals with autism in Arkansas [4].

By subscribing to the Arkansas Autism Foundation's mailing list, individuals can stay informed about upcoming events and the organization's activities. This allows individuals to be connected and engaged in the autism community, ensuring they have access to the latest resources and support.

Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center

The Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center (AAROC) is a non-profit organization established in January 2008. Their mission is to provide hope, direction, and support to families of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

AAROC offers a range of resources and services to support individuals with autism and their families. They provide information, guidance, and assistance in navigating the various challenges and opportunities associated with autism. Their goal is to ensure that families have the necessary tools and knowledge to make informed decisions and access the support they need.

Through their outreach efforts, AAROC aims to raise awareness about autism and promote a better understanding of the disorder within the community. They collaborate with other organizations, professionals, and individuals to create a network of support for families affected by autism.

By utilizing the services provided by organizations like the Arkansas Autism Foundation and the Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center, individuals and families in Arkansas can access valuable resources and support tailored to their specific needs. These organizations play a crucial role in empowering the autism community and promoting a more inclusive and understanding society.

Diagnosis and Testing

When it comes to diagnosing and testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Arkansas, several resources are available to assist families in accessing the necessary evaluations and services. It is important for parents who have concerns about their child possibly having ASD to schedule an appointment with their child's primary care physician (PCP) to discuss developmental concerns. Referrals to clinicians who can conduct testing for ASD will be provided by the PCP, and the diagnostic process typically involves a testing team consisting of a physician, psychologist, and speech-language pathologist who will diagnose ASD based on the criteria set by the American Psychiatric Association.

Dennis Developmental Center

The Dennis Developmental Center (DDC) located in Little Rock is one of the resources available for parents seeking help with autism-specific testing and services. The DDC, along with other resources like the Schmieding Developmental Center in Springdale and the Community-Based Autism Liaison and Treatment Project (CoBALT), aims to provide comprehensive evaluations and support for individuals with developmental disorders, including autism. CoBALT, in particular, has healthcare professional teams located in communities across Arkansas that can conduct developmental disorder screenings [6].

Access for Autism Program

The Access for Autism program, initiated in the summer of 2021 at the U of A Epley Center for Health Professions, offers a hybrid model of in-person and telehealth appointments for diagnostic evaluations, therapy sessions, and care management for children with developmental delay or behavioral concerns. This program aims to provide quicker diagnoses and vital resources for families by collaborating with local healthcare providers and therapy clinics. Led by Michele Kilmer and Danielle Randolph, the Access for Autism program focuses on improving care management for children with autism post-diagnosis.

Access to timely diagnostic evaluations for autism in Arkansas can sometimes be challenging, with wait times that can range up to two or three years after referral for children. Programs like Access for Autism aim to address this issue and provide families with faster access to crucial resources and support.

By utilizing resources such as the Dennis Developmental Center and the Access for Autism program, families in Arkansas can access the necessary diagnostic evaluations and support for their children with autism. These programs play a vital role in ensuring early intervention and appropriate services for individuals with autism, empowering them to reach their full potential.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Arkansas

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy that is grounded in the science of learning and behavior. It is designed to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop and enhance cognitive, communication, social, and self-help skills while reducing problematic behaviors. ABA therapy is tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and their family.

ABA Therapy Overview

ABA therapy is effective in teaching adaptive behaviors and reducing challenging behaviors in children with ASD. It focuses on breaking down complex skills into smaller, manageable steps and providing positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. The therapy aims to help children generalize skills across various settings, including home, school, and community [6].

The benefits of ABA therapy include improved communication, social interaction, self-help skills, and overall quality of life. It is an evidence-based approach that has been widely recognized and accepted as an effective treatment for individuals with ASD.

ABA Evaluation and Services

To access ABA therapy in Arkansas, children who are eligible for Medicaid must first receive an ASD diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is established, an evaluation by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is required to determine the child's eligibility for ABA services. The BCBA will collaborate with the family to develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to the child's specific needs and goals [6].

The ABA therapy services typically involve one-on-one sessions with a trained therapist who implements the treatment plan designed by the BCBA. The therapist will work closely with the child to teach target skills and behaviors while collecting data to measure progress and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

It is important to note that Medicaid coverage is available for ABA services in Arkansas for children with an ASD diagnosis. Medicaid eligibility is a prerequisite for receiving ABA therapy services [6].

By utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, individuals with ASD in Arkansas can receive the support and interventions they need to enhance their skills, improve their daily functioning, and lead fulfilling lives. The collaboration between families, BCBA professionals, and trained therapists plays a crucial role in the success of ABA therapy for children with autism in Arkansas.

Medicaid and PASSE Coverage

Accessing autism-related services in Arkansas often involves understanding the coverage provided by Medicaid and the PASSE (Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity) program. This section explores the requirements for ASD diagnosis to receive ABA services and provides information on PASSE enrollment and services.

ASD Diagnosis for ABA Services

For children eligible for Medicaid, an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis is necessary before an evaluation for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services can be approved. The diagnosis is typically conducted by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician or psychologist. Once the diagnosis is established, a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can evaluate the child for ABA services and collaborate on developing a treatment plan. This process ensures that children with ASD receive appropriate ABA therapy to support their development and well-being.

PASSE Enrollment and Services

If your child is enrolled in a PASSE, it is important to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician (PCP) to discuss any concerns about your child's development. The PCP can provide guidance on accessing autism-related services covered by the PASSE. To inquire about specific autism-related services covered by the PASSE, it is recommended to contact your child's Care Coordinator. They can provide information on available services and guide you through the process of accessing appropriate resources for your child.

For more information about autism-specific testing and services covered under the EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment) Autism Program, you can reach out to the Arkansas Department of Human Services at 501-682-8665. They can provide additional details and address any questions or concerns you may have regarding coverage and services for children with autism.

Understanding the Medicaid coverage requirements and exploring the services provided by the PASSE program are essential steps in accessing autism-related resources and support for your child in Arkansas. By following the necessary procedures and working closely with healthcare professionals and care coordinators, you can ensure that your child receives the appropriate services to help them thrive and reach their full potential.


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