Autism Services

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

ASD is a developmental disability caused by a problem in the brain. Scientists do not know yet exactly what causes ASD. ASD can impact a person’s functioning in different ways. People with ASD may have problems with social, behavioral, and communication skills. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. ASD begins during early childhood and last throughout a person’s lifetime.

What Is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

ABA is an intensive, behaviorally-based treatment that uses various techniques to bring about meaningful and positive changes in communication, social interaction, and repetitive/restrictive behaviors that are typical of ASD. Each child will have an individualized Intervention Plan that breaks down desired skills into manageable steps to be taught. Each ABA Plan is designed for the individualized needs of the child and will include an average of 5 to 25 hours of direct interventions per week depending on medical necessity. These services are intensive and can be provided either in the home or in a clinic setting. ABA interventions require parent/guardian training and participation. ABA treatment can be used to address skills and behaviors relevant to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ABA focuses on increasing:
  • Language skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Following instructions
  • Peer interactions
  • Academic/cognitive skills
  • Following typical daycare/classroom routines
  • Self-help and daily living skills

Accessing the ASD Benefit

  • STEP 1: ACCESS Call Center 
    • Contact ACCESS to complete a CMH screening process to be scheduled for either support coordination (SC) or case management (CM). ACCESS will provide education and direction on steps to obtaining a referral from the individual’s physician for further evaluation of autism.  
  • STEP 2: SC or CM Appointment 
    • Completes the Person-Centered Planning process to develop the Individualized Plan of Service (IPOS) that will establish goals the member will focus on during service delivery.  
  • STEP 3: Physician Referral 
    • To access the Michigan Medicaid Autism Benefit for further evaluation, the individual’s physician must provide date of last full medical and physical exam as well as results of a validated ASD screening tool. To complete the referral for further evaluation documentation should be entered using the link:
    • or sent directly to DWIHN Access Call Center at Email to the Attn: ASD REFERRAL. 
  • STEP 4: ACCESS Call Center 
    • ACCESS will contact both the physician to confirm documentation was received and individual after obtaining a complete referral to schedule a Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation.  
  • STEP 5: Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation Appointment  
    • Complete the Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation to determine eligibility for the Autism Benefit. This evaluation is conducted every three years for eligibility re-determination. If approved for the ASD Benefit, family chooses ABA provider from DWIHN provider network and schedules an appointment for a Behavioral Assessment to develop an individualized Treatment Plan. 
  • STEP 6: Behavioral Assessment Appointment
    • Complete the Behavioral Assessment with the chosen ABA provider which will be developed into an individualized Treatment Plan for ABA therapy
  • STEP 7: Start ABA Therapy  
    • Once the Behavioral Assessment and treatment plan are approved and incorporated into the individual’s IPOS then ABA therapy will be requested to start on the date determined by family and providers. This process can take up to 90-calendar days from the ASD Benefit approval before 1:1 ABA services begin.

Are You Concerned Your Child May Have Autism?

Here Are Some Signs that May Identify The Need For An ASD Screening:
  • Not talking or suddenly stopped talking
  • Does not make eye contact
  • Does not return smiles
  • Not interested in other children
  • Lags behind same age children in skills
  • Has temper outbursts or tantrums — “melt downs”
  • Does not respond to his or her name
  • Does not like to cuddle
  • Is sensitive to clothing and textures
  • Has limited food preferences
  • Not respond to their name by 12 months
  • Not point at objects to show interest by 14 months
  • Not play "pretend" games at 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Questions about Medicaid Autism Benefit? 
Contact Rachel Barnhart, ASD Program Administrator
(313) 498-6382
The Michigan Medicaid Autism Benefit went into effect on April 1, 2013. This Autism Benefit provides individuals birth through twenty years old who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and active Medicaid coverage with access to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.


Call the Access Center (800) 241-4949 

Both new and existing members of DWIHN need to contact the DWIHN Access Center at (800) 241-4949 to be screened and secure an ASD Intake appointment. 

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