Does insurance pay for your services if my child has autism?
Yes, if your child has a diagnosis of autism, Teaching Together will bill your insurance company directly if we get preauthorization from your insurance company. If your insurance company does not provide autism benefits, we will provide you with a letter to give to your HR department asking them to add the benefit to your plan.
Does insurance pay for your services if my child does not have autism?
Maybe. If your child does not have a diagnosis, we will provide an invoice for reimbursement. Teaching Together cannot bill directly for other diagnosis, but some patients have gotten 30-70% reimbursement. Private pay is also an option.
How is therapy structured?
Initially, an evaluation is conducted. If your child is a good fit for treatment, an initial treatment visit will be scheduled. This visit is 1-4 days in length. Then, follow-up will be scheduled as appropriate. This is typically 2-4 hours every week or so. Follow-up is faded when your child reaches their treatment goals.
What techniques do you use?
Therapists are specially trained to use behavioral techniques to teach new, desired skills and reduce refusal behavior. In addition, we have many years of experience collaborating with speech therapists and other professionals, and have continuing education in other feeding techniques such as SOS and oral motor therapy.
Specifically, what do you do during therapy?
Some of the techniques that we employ during treatment include: small “mini meals” and frequent breaks, choosing tastes and textures that your child already enjoys, developing an individualized reinforcement system, starting with small amounts of food and increasing volume slowly, using distraction, implementing structure and predictability into the meal, allowing choice of new foods, breaking the task into small steps, food chaining, gradual exposure to new food, desensitization and visual supports.
We feel that we’ve tried everything, why will therapy with Teaching Together help?
Many of the above techniques are ones you or other therapists have tried. The difference is that our therapists have implemented these techniques many times with many different children. Also, a new person coming to the house as a “feeding teacher” can motivate children to do well, and adds an element of excitement and novelty to the feeding process. In addition, an outside therapist can be objective, calm and persistent which is difficult to do with one’s own child. Our therapy is intensive, and lasts for several days, with parents receiving hands-on training. Finally, therapy is home-based so your child learns to eat where mealtime actually takes place.
My doctor and family members aren’t concerned, is it ok to be a picky eater?
To some extent, this is a personal choice. Since picky eating is becoming relatively common, it is hard to determine if your child’s diet is “typical”. In addition, each Pediatrician may have a different philosophy, and feel that weight gain alone is sufficient for health, even with a limited diet. Many friends and family members may not understand your concern if your child appears typical and healthy in every other way. If your child’s pickiness affects their health or social activities, your concern is valid. Being overweight, underweight and having vitamin deficits are examples of how selectivity can affect health. Anxiety around eating at birthday parties or not being able to eat anything on the family table can be socially isolating and stressful. Pickiness/selectivity can persist into adulthood. Some adults report fear going on dates, potluck dinners and business events such as lunch with their boss or dinner with clients. These are some factors to consider while weighing the costs and benefits of seeking treatment for your child.