Family Resources

Little Leaves is proud to provide our community with resources and support to ensure they make the correct, informed decision about their child’s next steps. Please consult our insurance support, FAQs, and resource to learn more about Little Leaves, the ABA therapy we provide, and our 3rd party resources for you and your family.

Insurance Support

Little Leaves will support you in determining if you have insurance benefits for ABA and, if so, in accessing those benefits – including dealing with authorizations and billing. Many health insurance plans now cover the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including ABA therapy.

Please click on the state below to see who Little Leaves is in network with:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • HSCSN
  • John Hopkins Employer Health Programs (EHP)
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • United Behavioral Health/Optum
  • Aetna
  • Avmed Behavioral Health/Optum
  • Cigna
  • United Behavioral Health/Optum

Coverage Information

Please click on the tab below to learn more about the different types of insurance plans. Please note the list above for plans that Little Leaves is currently in network with.

All plans available to Federal Employees cover ABA as of 1/1/2017. Before choosing a plan, be sure to check the plan details carefully to understand the potential cost and treatment limits for ABA.

  • DC – there is not a law that requires DC employees to have ABA coverage in their plans, but some plans do cover it.  Please check with your plan for details.
  • Florida –state employees have coverage for ABA in their health plan by law.
  • Maryland – state employees have coverage for ABA under the Maryland mandate.
  • Virginia – state employees have coverage for ABA in their health plan by law

Through the Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration, ABA therapy is now available to all Tricare beneficiaries, both active duty and retired. Click here for more details.

In some states, individual plans are required to cover ABA by law. Those plans can be purchased directly from the insurance company, or through your state’s health exchange. If you have employer-based insurance that does not cover ABA, it is possible to purchase a child-only plan that does covers it.

  • DC:  Individual plans cover ABA.
  • Florida: While it is not mandated by law for individual policies to cover ABA, select individual plans sold in Florida include coverage for ABA.  Contact us for more information.
  • Maryland: Individual plans cover ABA.
  • Virginia: Starting in January 2021, individual plans cover ABA.

The best thing to do to determine if you have coverage for ABA therapy for the treatment of an ASD is to call your insurance company and ask, but here are some tips to make sure you are getting the right information.

  • The first step is to determine if your group health plan is fully-funded or self-funded (aka self-insured). You can ask either your insurance company or your HR department.
  • For self-funded plans: Ask your HR department or insurance company whether the policy contains an autism benefit. (There is a partial list of self-funded companies with autism benefits listed on the Autism Speaks website.
  • For fully-funded plan: Determine whether your policy is subject to a state autism insurance mandate.
    • Ask your HR department or insurance company for the state in which the insurance contract was written and whether it is a small (50 employees or less) or large (more than 50 employees) group policy. Note: the relevant state is where the contract was written, NOT where you live.
    • Then visit Autism Speaks to determine if the autism insurance mandate in that state applies to a plan of your type. If your type of plan is covered under the law, your insurance policy must cover the mandated level of benefits.
  • For fully-funded employer sponsored plans in our area:
    • DC: Coverage is mandated by the Affordable Care Act in small group plans.
    • FL: Florida law requires coverage in large group plans only.
    • MD: Coverage for ABA is required for all children under the age of 19 in all plans.
    • VA: Coverage for ABA is required in all plans.

If your plan does cover ABA, you will most likely require pre- authorization for services. Contact us for help.

Note: unless you are speaking to a specific “ABA” department at your insurance company, please be skeptical of the information you are given unless you follow the instructions above. When coverage is not mandated by law, many plans, unfortunately, exclude coverage for ABA therapy.

No insurance coverage for ABA?

We know that intensive ABA services are expensive. But we also know that it is an investment in your child’s future. If you can afford to pay for them directly, please consider doing so. You may be able to purchase a policy for your child through the individual market / health exchange.

  • Early intensive behavioral services change the trajectory of your child’s development
  • Providing therapy to a child at a young age can significantly decrease the lifetime costs of caring for him/her. In fact, according to the Autism Society of America, “The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.”

Frequently Asked Questions

ABA Basics

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is based on the science of how people learn and can be used to change behaviors.  Behavior is anything that we can see a person do – talking, playing, getting dressed, cooking dinner, etc.  Behavior change can include learning a new behavior, strengthening a behavior we already do, or decreasing a behavior we want to do less often.  One way that ABA can teach or strengthen behaviors is through reinforcement.  When someone’s actions are reinforced (something good happens), they are more likely to do the same thing again.  For example, if your exercise routine is paying off, you are more likely to keep at it!

ABA uses a systematic approach to applying the principles of learning to help people change their behaviors.  It can be used both for increasing socially desirable behaviors (e.g., finishing chores, talking, or playing with a peer), and also for decreasing behaviors that are less desirable (e.g., smoking, tantrums, aggression).

There are many strategies that fall under the ABA umbrella, such as Natural Environment Training, Incidental Teaching, Discrete Trial Instruction, Verbal Behavior, and Pivotal Response Training.  At Little Leaves, we will individualize the strategies and approach we use for each child based on his/her needs.

If your child is experiencing developmental delays, his/her physician may have referred you to ABA. In particular, if your child was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), then ABA was likely prescribed.  ABA is considered the gold-standard treatment for autism, and there are decades of published research demonstrating its efficacy.  It has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Academies of Science, and the Surgeon General as the best practice for individuals with autism.  You can learn more at https://asatonline.org/.

Interventions based on ABA can be applied in many areas to help your child, such as (but not limited to) increasing language and communication, improving social and play skills, increasing adaptive skills such as toileting, dressing, and feeding, and reducing unwanted behaviors such as tantrums, aggression, or other dangerous behaviors.  Research has shown that early, intensive treatment with ABA can have a very significant impact on the course of a child’s development for those diagnosed with ASD or other developmental delays.

Research in the field of ABA has shown that an intensive treatment of 30-40 hours per week for at least two years yields the best long-term outcomes for young children diagnosed with autism.

When engaging in ABA therapy, children are busy learning new skills and practicing them until they are happening automatically.  Both of those things take a lot of time and practice!  Remember the last time you tried to learn a new challenging skill that wasn’t in your repertoire yet?  The more the practice, the sooner the skill is mastered!  For children with delays, the goal is to use as much of their time practicing and learning new skills as possible to help them approach developmental parity.

While 30-40 hours per week of ABA may seem like a lot of time, remember that typically developing children are playing and learning from the world around them every waking moment of the day.  An intensive ABA program will help a child with developmental delays do the same.

Professionals who have degrees and training in psychology, education, and related fields can become trained and credentialed in ABA as well.  The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) offers a range of credentials for clinicians in the field of ABA.  Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are masters- and doctoral-level clinicians with extensive training in ABA methodology and procedures who are certified to deliver and oversee ABA treatments.  At Little Leaves, your child will have a BCBA who develops and manages his/her care.

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) have been certified by the BACB to deliver the treatment that a BCBA has designed.  An RBT credential is earned through a combination of coursework, on-the-job experience, and passing an exam. All Little Leaves Behavior Technicians have earned their RBT credential or are working toward doing it.  All Little Leaves Behavior Technicians are also college educated.

Little Leaves

Little Leaves primarily serves children with Autism.  In Florida, we also serve children with Down Syndrome. With our focus on early intervention, Little Leaves works primarily with children from the time they are diagnosed until they enter kindergarten.

Little Leaves primarily offers center-based services for young children with autism which are run in a preschool-like setting.  At the center, each client works one-on-one with a trained behavior technician on individualized goals with a focus on social communication, social interactions, and school readiness skills.

Our program runs Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.  During the day, children have the opportunity to participate in individual therapy time, small group activities with peers, and activities of daily living.  While many clients are at our centers for the full day, an individualized schedule is developed for each child based on his/her therapeutic needs.

Little Leaves also works with clients in their homes, daycares, and preschools, most frequently when clients are ready to transition from a Little Leaves center into community setting.

Little Leaves only provides ABA therapy but we regularly collaborate with a child’s speech and OT providers to ensure a coordinated team-approach to treatment.  At our centers, we are usually able to accommodate outside therapy providers who would like to come in to see clients during the day.

Contact us to learn more about our services and if they are right for your family.

Little Leaves is in network with many insurance plans and fully supports families in accessing and using their insurance benefits.  Not all insurance companies, however, cover ABA for the treatment of autism.  Please visit our Insurance page  to learn about our plans and how to research whether your plan covers autism.  You can also feel free to reach out to us, and we can help you research your benefits.

While ABA can be used to treat skill deficits or challenging behavior regardless of diagnosis, most insurance companies require a diagnosis of autism in order to reimburse for our services.  If you would like to explore the option of paying for services without insurance coverage, please contact us to discuss further. (Note: In the state of Florida, some plans also cover ABA for children with Down’s Syndrome.)

Supporting Resources

Please click on the correct tab on the left side of the toggle box to be directed to the proper resources.