Lila and Kai are twins, but by age two, Lila’s behaviors set off alarm bells in mom, Lauren Watai’s head.
“Kai can be a chatty Cathy, and he started that right off the bat, and [Lila] wouldn’t really communicate. She would kind of point or express her needs in nonverbal ways," said Watai.
Despite a pediatrician’s insistence that Lila was OK, her mother sought out a specialist who told her Lila had autism.
Watai found a solution, on a small screen.
Erica Nolan is the clinical director for CSERV, the first in the country to provide telehealth services exclusively for autism.
The applied behavioral analysis focuses on changing behaviors and may require many hours of specialized therapy. Time and distance can be obstacles.
“We do have a significant amount of families that are in rural areas and have difficulty obtaining behavioral services. Some have been placed on waiting lists I’ve heard from six months up to a year, even past that,” says Nolan.
With C-SERV, therapists and parents schedule regular appointments over a computer, watching interactions or providing feedback.
“We need to know how to handle unwanted behaviors and how to get good behavior out of her and good communication,” says Lauren.
The Watai family have benefited from the board-certified counselors who don’t just care for kids, they also train parents so they can participate in their child’s behavioral treatment all from the comfort of their home.
While applied behavioral analysis or A-B-A is covered by most insurance companies, not all companies cover the telehealth services.