Published on November 19, 2021

MidMichigan Health Now an Approved Autism Evaluation Center

MidMichigan Health’s Pediatric Center for Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health is now an Approved Autism Evaluation Center (AAEC). An evaluation at an AAEC is the first step for some commercially insured children with autism to receive coverage for autism therapies.

MidMichigan Health’s speech language pathologist, Karen Wasson, C.C.C.-S.L.P., along with pediatrician Jennifer Grossman, D.O., and neuropsychologist, Scott Zimostrad, Ph.D., work together to evaluate children, determine a diagnosis and recommend treatment. Other specialists are brought in as needed.

“We are thrilled to have our Pediatric Center recognized as an Approved Autism Evaluation Center so families can obtain an approved medical diagnosis of autism and begin insurance covered treatment,” said Kathy Dollard, Psy.D., director of behavioral health at MidMichigan Health. “We have a great team of health care experts who are collaborating to bring this much needed service to our community.”

Located on Homer Road in Midland, the Pediatric Center for Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health offers a full range of pediatric services designed to help children reach their highest level of developmental function. Along with the comprehensive evaluation service, the Center offers evidenced-based autism intervention through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which focuses on programs that are individualized to each child’s specific needs.

“We partner with Community Mental Health for Central Michigan (CMHCM) to offer autism services to both commercially insured patients and patients covered by Medicaid insurance,” adds Dr. Dollard. “ABA is an evidenced-based autism intervention that follows a scientific approach to increase positive behaviors and replace challenging behaviors with functional skills.”

Pediatric Center staff provide programs that are individualized to meet each child’s specific needs. Children are assessed and treatment plans are developed to increase children’s skills in the areas of language and communication, social and play skills, as well as adaptive skills and others. Decreasing unwanted behavior is also addressed using functional behavior assessments and targeted interventions. The overall goal is to help each child meet his/her potential and to increase their likelihood of success in all areas of life.

MidMichigan Health also offers specialized treatment for children of all ages which also incorporates therapeutic play and recreational activities to address the individual goals of the child and family. Therapists work closely with physicians, schools and early intervention providers to optimize the function of the child. There are also pediatric rehabilitation services on site, so children can experience a team-based approach for their care all in one place.

“We are also proud of the collaboration that our Center has with the Midland County Education Services Agency and local universities,” said Dr. Dollard. “We believe that children and families benefit from partners coming together.”

Those interested in more information or referral assistance may call (989) 486-8351.