Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Harmony Autism Therapy

Do you provide services covered by Early Intervention?

YES. Selma Martinez is 1 of less than 20 individuals in the State of Illinois who holds a credential approved by Early Intervention to provide ABA services. Just have your service coordinator take a look at the Early Intervention Handbook. Services by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst IS covered!

Do you provide services at home?

YES. We follow “best-practice” philosophy. That is, treatment in the patient’s home-natural environment. This is not only limited to the home though. It’s wherever the individual is most likely to acquire and use the skills we teach. Therefore, we provide services in home, school, day care, etc.
My child can’t wait any longer. How do I get started right away?
Your time is precious. The best way to get your child services as soon as possible is to follow our intake procedure, completely.
You may contact us to confirm that we received all of the requested documentation.

Are you a clinic?

NO. Although our founder has extensive experience, including opening the first Verbal Behavior school in Illinois in 2004, she found that the clinic setting was not as successful as home-based services. Parental follow-through is a critical component to skill acquisition and children spend over 15 hours waking hours per day at home. Most early and intermediate learner skills are best taught in the home environment where they may be practiced through out the day. We also work together with park districts, schools, and other community services to help transition a child when he or she has the necessary to meet any community-based goals.

Does insurance cover ABA treatment?

YES, and No. It depends. Wonderful progress has been made in the last 5 years regarding insurance coverage for ABA.
Until the State of Illinois mandate, insurance companies were able to exclude “autism” entirely from any coverage. This discriminatory practice was stopped when the State Mandate took effect. Additional details are available on our Resources page.

  • YES. If your policy is fully-funded and bound by State of Illinois law. 

  • YES or NO, if your policy is self-funded, it does not fall under the State of Illinois mandate. Do not confuse “self-funded” with “self-pay” or whether your employer or you pay all or part of your premium.

    • It IS possible to appeal (we promise, it’s NOT a difficult process!) your employer to make an exception to the policy and cover ABA for your child. 

    • To date, only 2 employers refused to cover ABA after the parent pleaded with the employer via phone calls, letters, and supporting evidence of the life-time benefits of ABA.

    • Appeals process usually takes 1-3 months from the time a parent begins the process. The time is shorter when you have all the information ready for your employer. 

    • Self-Funded Tool Kit is a wonderful resource. 

We encourage you to use our Resources page for more information. 

Do you bill medical insurance?

YES. We bill your insurance company directly. Our clients are responsible for contacting their policy administrator to ensure that ABA services are covered under the insurance policy.

  • We are In-Network will most major insurance, including BCBS, United Healthcare, Optum, Aetna, UBH and others.
  • We will still bill your insurance even if we are not in-network.
  • We will provide you with information requested by your insurance company to support coverage.

Isn’t ABA only for “low-functioning” children?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! ABA is a science which is applied to treat a variety of “functioning” levels. If your child is diagnosed with a delay, whether it’s a language delay, social skill delay, ANY delay, it means that your child needs to be taught the skills that he/she doesn’t have which is causing that delay. For example, your child may speak, read, be social, but doesn’t follow directions in a group, doesn’t join other children at play, confuses “WH” questions, needs more time to “process” information… there are hundreds of specific examples of skills that are not up to par to what is age-appropriate development.

  • We address skills from communication to responding to the feelings of others and other executive functioning skills.
  • The list is endless. We never stop learning, nor should our patients.
  • At Harmony Autism Therapy we NEVER say, “good enough” until the skill is demonstrated in the natural environment and with others- we keep teaching!* We will never guarantee or promise of recovery but we strive to continue to add to the list of patients who did reach “recovery* – no longer met the criteria of autism or pervasive developmental disorder after all treatment goals were met and patient was re-evaluated by professional psychologist or physician.
  • Our goal is for each patient to reach his or her FULL potential!

How many hours of ABA does my child need?

USUALLY, MANY! Treatment is individualized, but research has demonstrated that a minimum of 20 hours per week is recommended.
YES. We understand that each child is different, and that Early Intervention will most likely not approve more than 1 hour per week. We also understand that some children are in school or other therapies during the day, so we design a care plan that takes patient availability into consideration. It is possible to teach a new skill with only a few hours per week, but the more hours, the more skills we can teach. We train parents and caregivers as much as possible so they may use the many teaching opportunities during the times the patient is not in a 1:1 session.

How do you decide what skills my child needs to learn?

VERY CAREFULLY. We do not use a cookie-cutter approach to teaching skills, nor do we approach what skills to teach your child in a cookie-cutter method. We do not only use the ABLLS-R. Some patients are better assessed using the VB-MAPP, others using the SKILLS. Most adults we service are assessed using the Essential for Living. Again, these decisions are made on an individualized basis.

How often does the BCBA actually observe my child?

Every 3-4 weeks. Patients are seen on an at least monthly basis. Typically, the BCBA will directly observe your child every 2 weeks. Out-of-state patients are scheduled on a 4-6 week basis, but will be provided video conferencing between visits in order to directly observe our patients.

Does the BCBA attend IEPs?

YES. It is critical that if your child is in school, that goals and objectives are designed based on developmentally appropriate goals, and that those goals are written in measurable terms. Additionally, the BCBA can help your team gain additional information that can aide in an appropriate IEP.

How long is your wait list?

NOT LONG. We do not have you waste valuable time waiting for us. We will refer you to a provider who may have an opening sooner than we can. Intake is based on 3 factors:

  • Patient’s availability for treatment
  • Location where services will be provided. Although our main office has moved, we have patients in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Proximity to our other patients in a determining factor since it will decrease travel time for our therapists.
  • Our therapists availability and travel time between patients.

We do not have a long wait list because we only take patients when all 3 factors are met.

Lost time is never found again.   – Benjamin Franklin 

We value your time and understand that as a person attempting to provide the best ABA treatment to a special someone, you have spent too much time on the phone, searching the web, waiting for authorizations, etc. Therefore, if you do not find the answer to your question here…. Contact us!