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    Join Us For Our Parent Support Group!

    Last updated 9 days ago

    STAR of CA (Support for Treatment for Autism & Related Disorders) and CAUSE (Center for Autism Understanding, Support, and Education) are partnering together to provide a 14-week parent support group that offers both emotional support and education on topics of interest that address family needs that extend beyond ABA services. Location of the parent group will be at 4880 Market Street Ventura, CA 93003 and each session will run approximately 50 minutes.

    Topics include:

     

    ·        Understanding autism

    ·        Stages of grief

    ·         Navigating services

    ·        Parents as effective interventionists

    ·         IEP process

    ·         Community outings

    ·        Incorporating family and friends

    ·         Fading services

    ·        Planning for the future

    ·         Self-care

    Participation in the parent support group is free of charge!

    For enrollment and information please contact Hannah Cardona at:

    Cell: (805) 501-9929 or email hcardona@starofca.com

    Sign-on Letter provided to the Behavior Health Treatment Stakeholder Meeting Department of Health Care Services

    Last updated 10 days ago

    September 4, 2014

    While we are pleased that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services are now requiring that state Medicaid plans provide behavioral health treatment for children under the age of 21, we have serious concerns about how this new guidance will affect children who are part of California’s regional center system.  We agree that it is important for children who are not eligible for regional center services to receive necessary behavioral treatment, but without careful consideration, this new rule will have unintended negative consequences on regional center consumers who are entitled to choice and need continuity with their current providers.  While well-intentioned, this new rule is national in scope and doesn’t take into account the special circumstances of individuals in California who are protected through generous state laws such as the Lanterman Act.

    Our concerns lie in the following areas:

    ·         Children with autism who are part of the regional center system must meet strict eligibility criteria and are those most impacted by their disability.  They are the children who can least afford a lapse in treatment or a change in providers, which can sometimes lead to more severe behavioral challenges.

    ·         There are thousands of children with autism who currently receive behavioral therapy funded through their regional centers.  Most of these children and their families have developed relationships with their providers.   Having an adequate number and array of providers so that they can choose the most appropriate one is extremely important to the success of their treatment.

    ·         We know based on other health care services that the number of provider choices offered through Medi-Cal is generally limited because the rates of reimbursement are lower than from private health insurance.  We are concerned that this same scenario will play out with the Medi-Cal rates versus the Regional Center rates.  This will lead to significantly fewer options for families and consumers. 

    ·         If few providers participate in Medi-Cal then it is likely that many, if not most, of the consumers will be required to change providers.  This is a significant problem for children with autism and their families.  Continuity is a critical part of any treatment.

    ·         New regional center consumers need choices as well.  We are concerned that these consumers will be limited to only a few options provided through the managed care system of Medi-Cal.

    ·         We are concerned that with only a few providers, there will be long waitlists to get treatment, which is antithetical to the intent of the Lanterman Act and prohibited by Medi-Cal rules.

    ·         The timeline is moving too quickly for regional center consumers.  At this time, the managed health plans are not prepared for this transition.  They do not have contracts with behavior agencies, they have no utilization team to determine the appropriateness of the requested service, and there is no rate structure or payment plan.  The plans are supposed to begin funding services beginning on August 20th.  While beginning quickly for children who are currently not served is important, we recommend a much slower transition process for current recipients.

    ·         There were many unintended consequences from the passage of SB 946, which mandated private insurance to cover behavior health treatment.  This law created huge burdens for many families and we are hoping to avoid different problems with this new guidance.

    ·         The Regional Center system, while it may be flawed, is mandated to provide services according to the Lanterman Act. This Act is concerned with the whole person, with the continuity of service, and the development of the individual to the best of their potential.  The Act lays out clear due process rights and agencies that provide oversight.  The managed care system does not have the same level of expertise with children with autism, and as we have seen with private health insurance through SB 946, does not understand the issues faced by these children and their families. 

    We call on the Department of Health Care Services to work with CMS to create a plan that will alleviate these concerns, and ensure that regional center consumers have a wide choice of providers and continuity of treatment.  We urge DHCS to explore authorizing regional centers as Medicaid providers.  This plan should include setting rates that will equal those provided by regional centers to ensure the widest participation of providers. 

     

    Signed,

     

    Judy Mark

    Autism Society of Los Angeles

     

    Soryl Markowitz

    Westside Regional Center

    How to Have a Great Vacation with Your Child with Autism

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Family vacations can be particularly challenging for children with autism. These youngsters often have difficulty coping with changes in routine. You can prepare your child for these changes by talking about what he or she can expect from the trip. Additionally, select a destination that will not be overwhelming for your child, especially if he or she has hypersensitivities. For example, a child with tactile aversions may not appreciate spending time on the beach.

    You get some more helpful tips about vacationing with a child with autism by watching this video. This expert discusses some factors to consider when choosing a destination and deciding where to stay during your visit.

    At STAR of CA, it’s our goal to provide effective, family-centered support with evidence-based autism therapies and supportive services. Families can schedule a consultation with one of our caring autism specialists by calling (805) 804-5671.

    An Overview of STAR of CA's Methodologies

    Last updated 1 month ago

    STAR of CA was founded for the purpose of providing comprehensive, evidence-based autism therapies within a supportive, nurturing environment that focuses on the whole family. Our autism therapists understand the unique array of challenges that families of children with autism face on a daily basis. Our methodologies have all been clinically proven to help children with autism thrive, reducing frustration for the whole family. Some of the evidence-based methodologies our autism therapists use include discrete trial training (DTT) and pivotal response therapy (PRT).

    Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

    Discrete trial training is a highly structured technique that encourages compliance and direction following in children with autism. It involves breaking down a task into its most basic components. DTT follows an “ABC” method, involving an antecedent, behavior, and consequence. The autism therapist provides an instruction, or antecedent, to the child. The child’s behavior is the response to that request, which could be compliance, non-compliance, or a lack of a response. The consequence is the autism therapist’s response. If the child correctly performs the response, he or she receives a reward as positive reinforcement. Otherwise, the behavior is ignored.

    Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT)

    Pivotal response therapy is known to be a highly effective, clinically proven technique based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles. Unlike DTT, which targets specific behaviors, PRT targets areas of a child’s development, such as self-management, the initiation of social interactions, and motivation. PRT can help a child thrive with regard to social skills, communication, academics, and behavior. PRT is based on child-initiated play. For example, during a session the child will choose the type of play. The autism therapist provides directions or opportunities, and offers positive reinforcement with each attempt.

    Parents can learn more about the methodologies used by the autism therapists at STAR of CA by visiting our website. Or, give us a call at (805) 804-5671 to schedule a consultation. Our autism therapists look forward to meeting your family and learning how we can help you overcome challenges.

    Breaking Down Myths About Autism

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Despite the growing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the U.S., myths regarding autism are still quite pervasive. If your child has been recently diagnosed with autism, it’s a good idea to connect with an experienced autism specialist who uses evidence-based practices. Your child’s autism specialist can help your family understand the challenges of the disorder and how best to help your child.

    Myth: All Children with Autism Are Intellectually Impaired

    It’s commonly thought that a diagnosis of autism automatically means that a child is also intellectually impaired. The truth is much more complex. Each child with autism is unique, and has individual challenges and strengths—just like any child who is developing typically. Many children with autism are high functioning, and many have exceptional IQs and academic strengths. Just as with typically developing children; however, some children with autism do have intellectual difficulties.

    Myth: Autism Challenges Are Unmanageable

    Since autism researchers have yet to find a cure for the disorder, many people assume that the challenges associated with it are unmanageable or that therapies are ineffective. Although there are indeed plenty of unproven therapies for autism, there are also highly effective, clinically-proven methodologies that help children overcome their challenges. An autism specialist can use techniques based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to help children improve their communication abilities, social skills, and other areas of development.

    Myth: Children with Autism Prefer Social Isolation

    This is among the most common myths about autism because many children with ASD have difficulty with social skills. Although these youngsters may have trouble making and keeping friends, this by no means indicates that they prefer social isolation. They simply need more patience and understanding to build social connections. An autism specialist can help children with ASD improve their social skills.

    At STAR of CA, our goal is to help children and families affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD) overcome obstacles to success and reach their full potential. Our autism therapists provide effective, evidence-based therapies for children, based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). For more information about our services, please call (805) 583-8060.

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  • Hours:

  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Sunday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Tuesday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Wednesday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Thursday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Friday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Saturday


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STAR California, a division of Support and Treatment for Autism and Related Disorders, provides Psychological and ABA Services to children and families in home and community settings. This division does not provide school-based educational services.
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