A Guide to Autism Benefits and Services in Colorado

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a multifaceted developmental disorder, characterized by ongoing difficulties in social engagement, verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior.

The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.

In Colorado, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 54 children has been identified with ASD.

This guide aims to provide an overview of the benefits and services available in Colorado for individuals with autism and their families.

It seeks to simplify the process of understanding and accessing these resources, making the journey a little easier for those navigating the world of autism services in the state.


Autism Therapists in Colorado

Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Julia Rosales, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Janelle Wagenknecht, LPCC, ADDC

Janelle Wagenknecht, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Megan Brausam, LPC

Megan Brausam, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Joseph Anders, LPCC

Joseph Anders, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Denise Itule, LPCC

Denise Itule, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Michele Ames-Hodges, PsyD, LPC

Michele Ames-Hodges, PsyD, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Alex Wiley, LPC

Alex Wiley, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

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Autism Services in Colorado

Early Intervention Programs

In Colorado, there are numerous services available for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), starting from early intervention programs.

Notable organizations such as the Autism Society of Colorado and Soar Autism Center provide resources and support for these interventions.

The Soar Autism Center, with multiple locations in Colorado and Arizona, specializes in integrated autism care for young children.

These early intervention programs are complemented by a variety of other services throughout the state.

For instance, the ASD Program in Boulder County connects families with a wide range of providers and therapists, making it a unique resource within Colorado.

Similarly, Peak Autism Services offers home-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.


School-Based Services

Public schools are required by law to provide appropriate educational services to all children, including those with disabilities.

This is typically facilitated through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which outlines each child's unique needs and the specific services the school will provide to meet those needs.

In addition to general education support, several schools in Colorado offer specialized programs for students with ASD.

For instance, Denver Public Schools has a program known as the Denver Autism Spectrum Disorder Program, which provides specialized instruction and support for students with ASD.

Other school districts, like the Boulder Valley School District, also have dedicated programs for students on the autism spectrum.

These programs are designed to create an inclusive learning environment that caters to the specific needs of students with ASD, supporting their academic and social development.



Adult Services

In Colorado, services for adults with ASD are as robust and comprehensive as those for children.

These services aim to support independent living, employment, and community integration.

Organizations such as the Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) within the Colorado Department of Human Services.

The DIDD provides a range of services for adults with ASD, including residential services, day programs, and supported employment programs.

Additionally, there are several private organizations, like Firefly Autism, that offer life skills programs for adults with ASD.

These programs focus on developing critical skills such as communication, self-care, and social interaction, which can significantly enhance the quality of life for adults living with ASD.


State-Specific Autism Programs

The Autism Treatment Network of Colorado provides high-quality care to individuals with autism and their families.

This network, which is part of a larger organization known as the Autism Care Network, aims to improve the quality of life for children with autism and their families throughout the U.S.

Their dedication to providing the highest standard of care has made them a vital resource within the community.

The Colorado Autism Commission plays a crucial role in shaping policies and services for individuals with autism within the state.

Comprising a diverse group of stakeholders, including parents, educators, healthcare professionals, and advocates, the commission's mandate involves reviewing existing services, identifying gaps, and recommending strategies to enhance services for people with ASD across their lifespan.


Autism Health Insurance Coverage in Colorado

The state has enacted a specific autism mandate, which requires certain insurers to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorders, as outlined in Senate Bill 09-244.

This bill passed in 2009, ensures meaningful coverage for autism under state-regulated plans, including the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD.


Overview of the Colorado Autism Insurance Mandate

The Colorado Autism Insurance Mandate requires all health benefit plans issued or renewed in the state to provide coverage for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

The mandate covers most private health insurance plans in the state, and Colorado Medicaid, also known as Health First Colorado, and TRICARE also provide coverage.


Eligibility and Covered Services

Coverage for treatment may be subject to a maximum annual benefit, which varies depending on the age of the child.

For children through age 6, this maximum is $50,000; for children aged 7 through 12, it's $40,000.

For applied behavior analysis specifically, plans must provide at least $34,000 of coverage per year from birth to age nine and at least $12,000 of coverage thereafter.


How to Apply for Coverage

If you're a Colorado resident wondering how to get Medicaid for a child with autism, there are resources available to guide you through the process.

It's important to note that you don't need to have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder to have insurance coverage for behavioral therapy under Colorado Medicaid. 

Here are some available resources:

1. Autism Speaks. "Colorado State-Regulated Insurance Coverage." 

2. ASHA. "Colorado Insurance Requirements for Autism Spectrum Disorder."

3. NCSL. "Autism and Insurance Coverage State Laws."

4. Leg.colorado.gov. "Senate Bill 15-015."



Financial Assistance and Grants

In Colorado, there are several financial assistance programs and grants aimed at helping families and individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

These funds can be used to offset the costs of treatments, therapies, and other autism-related expenses.


Autism Speaks Grants

Autism Speaks is a national organization that provides grants for families affected by autism.

The Family Services Community Grants program aims to promote services that will enhance the lives of those affected by ASD.

The grants are awarded for projects that provide people with autism with social and educational experiences.



Family Support Services Program (FSSP)

The Family Support Services Program (FSSP) in Colorado provides support to families who have a family member with a developmental disability or delay.

The program offers resources to help families navigate the system of care, as well as funding to help cover the cost of services and supports that are not covered by insurance or other programs.


Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities

The Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities (CFPD) is a nonprofit organization that manages pooled special needs trusts for people with disabilities.

These trusts can be used to pay for a wide variety of expenses related to the individual's disability, including medical expenses, education, recreation, and quality-of-life enhancements, without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. 


Get Matched to the Right Provider

Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.


Get Matched


Conclusion

Navigating the world of autism benefits and services in Colorado can be a complex journey, but it's important to remember that you're not alone.

From the Autism Insurance Mandate, which provides coverage for autism-related treatments, to various financial assistance programs like Autism Speaks Grants, Family Support Services Program (FSSP), and the Colorado Fund for People with Disabilities, there are numerous resources available to support individuals with autism and their families.

While it may seem overwhelming at times, these resources can provide significant aid in accessing necessary services and treatments.

Keep exploring, keep asking questions, and remember - every step you take is a step towards improving the quality of life for yourself or your loved one with autism. 


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April 15th, 2024

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