SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EMQ FamiliesFirst, California’s largest children’s services agency, today launched the Autism Spectrum Disorder program, providing services at its San Bernardino campus and in the community, as well as on-call treatment in surrounding areas in Riverside County. Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States that affects 1 in every 88 children in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups1. Recent California insurance reform has opened the door to affordable services for more children with Autism and their families. EMQ FamiliesFirst is committed to helping families receive the services they need at the earliest point possible and at the place of need.
In 2012, California passed the Autism Insurance Reform Law requiring that California insurers and health plans that are subject to the bill provide coverage for treatment “to develop or restore, to the maximum extent practicable, the functioning of an individual with pervasive developmental disorder or autism2.” Without insurance coverage for this diagnosis, California families had been forced to pay out of pocket or rely on tax-funded programs for treatment.
“California currently has the highest number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with nearly 30% of those diagnosed placed on a lengthy waitlist for treatment3,” said Brian Thomson, executive director, Inland Empire Region. “Following the new legislation, we are excited to introduce our program and specialized team to San Bernardino and Riverside counties to aid children and families who are in need of immediate treatment.”
In 2012, more than 50,000 children ages 3-17 had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in California4. EMQ FamiliesFirst believes that early diagnosis and intervention during the first years of a child’s life can significantly impact long-term prognosis, particularly in the areas of language and social behavior. The agency uses Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), specifically identified in this new legislation, to treat children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA is a methodology that addresses behavioral needs and facilitates the development of language, social interactions and independent living by applying basic behavioral practices—positive reinforcement, teaching in small steps, prompting, repeated practice, generalization of skills, and more.
EMQ FamiliesFirst works closely with families, primary and specialty care physicians, pediatricians, schools and community agencies to provide and coordinate a continuum of high quality services. Children receive diagnosis, evaluation and treatment from licensed professionals, experienced behavior analysts and highly trained paraprofessionals. For more information about this program please visit www.emqff.org/services/autism.shtml.
About EMQ FamiliesFirst: EMQ FamiliesFirst is one of the largest, most comprehensive mental health treatment programs in the country. The agency takes a state-of-the-art approach to children and youth with complex behavioral health challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and other related disabilities: we combine research-based services (including evidence-based therapies and psychiatric services) with a family-centered effort to identify and address the complex needs of the family. Our results for youth are on average 10 percentage points higher when compared to state or national averages on metrics such as living at home, staying in school and out of trouble. For more information please visit www.emqff.org, our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EMQFamiliesFirst, Twitter and Instagram at @emqff and/or our blog at www.blog.emqff.org/.
1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm?s_cid=ss6103a1_w
3 Antison Society, 2012, 2012 Autism in California Survey