Systems Change for ASD/DD Initiatives in Washington State

April 2, 2013

In 2008, Washington State DOH/CSHCN and UW LEND received one of the first rounds of grants under the Combating Autism Act 2006 and formed the Combating Autism Advisory Council to guide effective systems change for ASD/DD initiatives in Washington State.  The Council is in its fourth year and has been renamed the Washington Autism Advisory Council (WAAC).  Council membership is comprised of individuals and advocates from state and local agencies, diagnostic centers including UW LEND, family members, and self-advocates and other interested individuals. 

WAAC members collaborated with the newly formed Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) to develop and launch new Medicaid benefits for children with autism.  Medicaid began offering coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy in January 2013 for children who had a confirmed diagnosis of autism and a treatment plan.  HCA designated The UW LEND program as one of the regional Centers of Excellence for the diagnosis and to establish the need for ABA therapy.  The UW LEND clinicians and trainees routinely perform interdisciplinary team evaluations, have experience in confirming autism diagnoses, and make treatment plans for all children including children covered by Medicaid.  The initial collaborations between WA State Department Of Health/Children with Special Health Care Needs and UW LEND culminated in systems change for children with ASD/DD.