April is National Autism Acceptance Month

April 4, 2022

According to the Autism Society of America, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the United States. One in 54 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), totaling over 5 million young people and adults.

Since 2013, the HHS Children’s Autism Program (CAP) has provided approximately 700,000 hours of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to Texas children ages 3–15 who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. These services are provided through contracts with local community agencies and organizations.

A great-grandmother whose grandson is receiving CAP services, said of the program, “I thought I was going through the typical terrible twos until it went over into the threes. After evaluation, he was diagnosed with ASD. ABA therapy was recommended.

“The techniques that are used and taught are excellent. It’s unreal how a simple word or approach can make all the difference in the world. His elopements (wandering or running away from a caregiver) are down 95%. Learning the proper way of communicating with a child with autism is key. This is a service that is so needed, and we as a family are so appreciative of the opportunity to receive them.”

Services may take place at home, via telehealth, a clinic or familiar settings in the community. ABA uses behavioral principles to evaluate and teach socially relevant behavior and new skills while encouraging desirable behaviors through positive reinforcement. The CAP has supported local agencies to serve over 870 children since September 2021.

One mother’s son receives CAP services and said it wasn’t long before they could see improvements in his behavior.

“It was not easy,” she said. “It takes us 45 minutes to drive to therapy and 45 minutes back. It has been worth every mile driven. Our family has been given a valuable gift with the therapy received from his amazing staff. Our family is so much better now that this therapy has given [our son] a voice and the skills needed to have a good life.”

In order to qualify for ABA services a child must be diagnosed by a licensed doctor or psychologist who is trained and has a background in treating neurodevelopmental disorders.

To find your nearest CAP provider, use the clinic locator for the Office of Primary and Specialty Health, call 512-438-5356 from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday, or email CAP.