Signs of Autism in Girls

Signs of Autism in Girls

Autism has traditionally been diagnosed more frequently in males, but new studies have shown that autism may have nothing to do with sex. The lower prevalence of autism in girls may be due to specific behaviors that indicate autism going unnoticed.

Let’s take a look at why autism in girls is often overlooked and what those signs are.

Girls & Autism

Why have many signs of autism in girls been overlooked for so long? The short answer is behavioral patterns. While the criteria used to diagnose autism are not different for boys and girls, the way the signs appear may be different.

Signs of general autism normally include:

  • Social behavior issues
  • Communication issues
  • Problems understanding relationships
  • A very narrow set of interests and areas of focus
  • Stimming (repetitive motor actions and/or sounds)
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Extreme reactions to sensory stimuli

This list is very general and non-specific, but they are related to the criteria used to diagnose autism. The behaviors that show some of these issues, however, can be different for boys & girls.

Signs of Autism in Girls

Some of the criteria used to diagnose autism may go unnoticed by parents or teachers when it comes to girls. These signs can manifest in different ways. Some of the signs of autism that girls exhibit more than boys include:

  • Introversion. Girls with autism may be more introverted or be considered to be ‘shy’ than boys. While being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean a girl has autism, being severely introverted may be a warning sign.
  • Hyper focusing. Hyper focusing is, broadly speaking, complete absorption into a task. In girls with autism, hyperfocus totally prevents them from dividing attention between more than one thing.
  • Lack of social awareness. Another sign that a young girl may have autism is a lack of social awareness. This manifests itself in a girl being unable to establish the relevance or importance of others, leading to a lack of understanding social cues.
  • Auditory/Sensory Processing. Severe auditory and other sensory processing sensitivities or issues may also be a sign of autism. This is different than being scared of alarmed due to loud or explosive sounds and more about issues with sounds or sensory stimuli most people take no issue with.
  • Social Camouflaging. Social camouflaging can be the most difficult sign of autism in young girls for parents to detect. Young girls with mild autism may go undiagnosed due to seeming socially neurotypical. This makes looking for other signs even more important.

What To Do

If you notice any regular occurrences of irregular behavior, you may want to check in with your child’s pediatrician. A single behavioral issue is usually not enough to seek a medical opinion, but frequent irregular episodes could indicate an evaluation.

Seeking professional medical help is the only way to truly get a proper diagnosis.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Health Insurance & Autism

Health Insurance & Autism

Getting health insurance to cover certain needs can be a pain in many cases. Health insurance and autism, however, are in a category of their own.

The most recent data from the CDC estimates that 1 in 54 children will be diagnosed with autism–a number that seems to be increasing every year. Health insurance plans and policies are changing due to the prevalence of autism, but it can still be hard to get coverage.

Here’s what you need to know.

Getting an Autism Diagnosis

If you are concerned about the development of your child, speak to your pediatrician as soon as possible. Your pediatrician will be able to help you find a suitable professional to conduct an autism evaluation.

A diagnosis needs to be made by a licensed medical professional before insurance will offer any coverage (pediatric psychologist, developmental pediatrician). Many states have laws that require insurance providers to pay for autism evaluations. If you are unsure if your provider covers evaluations, be sure to speak to a representative to make sure.

After a diagnosis, you will get a prescription for services from the doctor, most likely for ABA therapy. You will need prior authorization from your insurance provider to get coverage for a new autism diagnosis/prescription before starting any programs.

Costs of Autism

According to the CDC children with autism have medical expenditures around $4,000-$6,200 more than a neurotypical child. On top of this, paying cash for an intensive inpatient behavioral program (20-40 hours per week) can cost around $50,000 per year.

Costs like these are why it is extremely important to know what your insurance provider will cover and what they won’t. If you currently have a family health insurance policy, it is best practice to call your provider and speak to a representative about your options.

Common Issues with Insurance Coverage & Autism

Many medical conditions and procedures come with ‘hidden strings.’ Autism is no different. Insurance plans often have policies in place that block coverage based on the type of service/therapy being used, the provider, or the health plan itself.

Common issues families face with insurance companies and autism coverage include:

  • Coverage only specifies one type of autism therapy (usually ABA)
  • Specific plans or therapies are denied coverage due to certain insurance plans categorizing some therapy coverage as being for disabilities only (not autism)
  • Out-of-network providers are not covered in any way, even partially (it can be hard for some people in rural areas to find nearby in-network providers)
  • Services not being covered due to a policy classifying them as ‘educational,’ thus not health care

Issues like these (and other related ones) need to be taken up with your insurance provider as soon as possible–preferably before any sessions have started. Also, be sure to talk to any provider you are considering about billing. Misbilling certain services can create an issue with your insurance provider–make sure the healthcare provider you choose knows their billing!

Autism, Health Insurance, & the Law

Each state has different laws and regulations regarding how insurance providers provide coverage for autism. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a great list of these laws, broken down by state.

The laws vary by state, meaning that some people may have trouble getting an insurance provider to cover a specific service–especially those who have recently changed residence. 

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Travel & Vacation Tips for Children with Autism

Travel & Vacation Tips for Children with Autism

Long trips and vacations with kids can be difficult. Keeping a child occupied and calm during a trip requires patience and preparation. Keeping a child with autism occupied and calm during a trip may require some extra patience and planning.

This article is going to go over tips, tricks, and good general information on traveling with an autistic child. The two sections in this article will include information on road trips and air travel, as both have unique challenges.

Tips for Flying with a Child with Autism

Air travel is a big change for any child with autism. The sensory overload that accompanies every flight can be a huge challenge. The noise, the pressure, the small area, and the regimented process are all obstacles that a family will need to prepare for before a flight.

Before flying with an autistic child, you will want to consider taking the following actions:

  • Prepare Weeks (or Months, if possible) Ahead. Talk with your child’s therapist or doctor about how to best start the process of preparing for a flight. Getting a plan together early on will help remind you about things you may need to prepare your child for.
  • Create a Calendar. Having a visual indicator for your child to see indicating the upcoming trip can help them prepare for the change.
  • Talk to Your Child About the Flight. Go over all the information about planes, airports, and travel you have planned with your child before the trip. Ask your child questions about the trip and make sure they have an understanding of the upcoming trip.
  • Pack Essentials. Make sure to pack any of your child’s favorite toys, activities, and snacks before the flight. Remember that liquids over 3oz. cannot be brought through airport security!
  • Pack Entertainment. Make sure your child has their favorite long-term toy or activity-packed. Focusing on something they love can make the long trip seem much shorter.
  • If Your Child Has Special Needs: Talk to the Airline or Airport Before Your Flight. If your child needs special treatment or has other needs not normally provided or permitted by airlines, make sure to call them as early as possible! Airlines can be very accommodating, so make sure to talk to your airline about any and all of your child’s needs.
  • Do a Practice Airport/Airline Security Run. Talk to your child’s therapist or pediatrician about the best ways to simulate an airport or airport security. Devise a plan and make sure your child is as prepared as they can before the real thing.

Road Trips & Autism

Taking a trip or going on a car vacation is much easier than flying for a child with autism. This doesn’t, however, mean it will be a walk in the park!

Leaving home and routine behind is difficult for children. Taking a child with autism out of an expected routine and schedule will take some preparation to mitigate emotions.

Just like with flying, there are some things you can do prior to a road trip to help ease the apprehensions of your child:

  • Create a Calendar. Giving your child a visual indicator for when they will leave home can help them understand when the trip will start.
  • Talk to Your Child & Communicate the Trip Plans. Creating an understandable narrative around where & why you are traveling can help your child understand what is happening. Ask them questions about the trip, answer their questions about the trip, and be sure to emphasize the things they will enjoy!
  • Have Your Child Help Prepare for the Trip. Helping mom or dad is always fun, especially when it’s for something special. Having your child help you with packing or preparing the car for the road trip may be a great way to imbue an understanding of what to expect.
  • Show Pictures of Hotels or Houses You’re Staying At. Make sure to familiarize your child with your destination and what they can expect when you get there. If you are staying with relatives, contacting them to prepare a room, followed by sending pictures of the prepared space, can make your child understand where they are staying is safe.
  • Pack the Essentials. This is imperative for any road trip–a car has fewer accommodations than a plane, namely, there are no snacks & no bathrooms. Be sure to pack all of your child’s favorite toys and activities along with a cooler filled with favorite snacks & drinks.
  • Schedule Gas Station/Rest Area Stops. Letting your child know when you will be stopping can help them understand the length of the trip. Creating a visual calendar of stopping times/points can help even more.

Make sure to make your car as comfortable as possible for any road trip. Bringing favorite comfy blankets or pillows can help your child feel more at home in the car.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.

Health Insurance & Autism

Great Summer Programs for Children with Autism

School is almost out for summer. This doesn’t mean that your child will need to be at home all summer. There are many summer programs, activities, and events that are designed for children with autism in mind.

Before looking at fun activities and programs, however, be sure to talk with your child’s therapist. They may have some great summer programs that could be a great option.

Summer School and Therapy

Many autism and ASD programs don’t follow a typical school schedule. If your child attends a school or clinic that offers year-round care and therapy, see what they offer.

Before signing up for any summer school or therapy plans, however, you may want to ask a few questions:

  • Will my child have the same instructor or teacher?
  • Are the hours the same?
  • What differences are there between summer & school year programs?
  • Is the program the same?
  • Is the provider (both for teachers & insurance) the same?

Of course, these questions may not be necessary if your child attends a year-round school or clinic. Always be sure that year-round schools offer the same services in summer–changes could lead to some behavioral hiccups.

Events & Festivals

We’ll preface this by saying that larger events are not for every child with autism. Big crowds and big noises can lead to sensory discomfort that could easily be avoided by not attending specific events (like music festivals or sporting events).

With that said, there are tons of events that go on locally every summer. Things like:

  • Farmer’s markets
  • Arts & crafts events
  • Outdoor sales
  • Certain areas or events at county fairs

Be sure that your child is OK with any expected noises or other sensory overloads that could be present at a given event. If you are unsure what an event entails or how big the expected crowd is, call the event organizer. Some events may have safe areas or activities specifically designed for children with autism.

Fun Summer Activities at Home

Of course, you can always set up some great summer activities for your child in their favorite comfort zone–home. If you child shows interest in specific types of activities, the following list may get you started towards creating some amazing activities:

  • Camping (not necessarily overnight–tents and sleeping bags are fun any time)
  • “Pool” days (inflatable pools, sprinklers, etc)
  • Picnic days (help with packing the picnic and eating in the yard)
  • Art activity days (coloring, painting, chalk, play-doh, etc)
  • Rainy day reading or movies (snacks & entertainment)

These activities are just the tip of the iceberg. If your child has interests or loves activities that aren’t on this chart… find a way to incorporate them into their summer schedule!

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.