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Autism & Behavioral Services

Chances are, you or someone you know—a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker—has a personal connection to autism.


What is autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are terms describing a complex neurodevelopmental disorder, which means it affects brain development. ASD commonly causes difficulty with communication, social interaction, sensory processing and behavior.

There is no cure for autism, but getting help early can greatly reduce many of its symptoms. With the right support, kids with ASD can do well in school, participate in activities they enjoy, build positive relationships, and go on to lead fulfilling lives.

Autism, known also as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is becoming ever more common. In 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 59 U.S. children were on the spectrum. However, because knowledge about ASD has also increased, we can do more to empower kids and families living with autism than ever before.

I think my child might have autism – what should I do?

Signs of autism typically appear in early childhood, and can sometimes even be recognized in babies. You might also suspect ASD in an older child or teen. The Child Development Center is here to help. Get started by making a referral. A referral is just how we gather information like your child's name, age, basic health background, where you live, any questions or concerns etc. After the referral, we can schedule a more in-depth conversation with you about evaluation and treatment options to move forward.

If you need help targeting your questions or concerns, *this checklist can help you understand typical developmental milestones (up to age five). *This resource should not replace a professional evaluation.

Will my child qualify for your services?

We work with babies, children and teenagers up to the age of 19. Your family could benefit from our autism services if

  • your child has a diagnosis of ASD, or
  • you suspect your child has autism and are seeking a diagnosis.

The Child Development Center accept ASD diagnoses from outside clinicians for children of any age. We can also refer you to professionals who perform autism evaluations if you suspect autism and are seeking a diagnosis. Medicaid and many private insurances cover autism services, typically under Applied Behavior Analysis. We can help you navigate insurance questions related to autism, too.

To get started, make a referral. A referral helps us gather basic information before having a more in-depth conversation with you about autism evaluation and treatment options.


How will your services help my child?

Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA), and Behavior Technicians (BTs) will partner with you to develop a custom program for your child. We use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy – a proven teaching science to help those with autism successfully increase targeted learning skills and behaviors. We are the only Montana-based provider of ABA therapy that is accredited as a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

Your ABA plan will include both short and long-term goals based on your child’s needs. It is common to focus on communication, social and emotional relationships, self-help (dressing, washing, eating, sleeping, toileting, etc.) and community participation skills. A Behavior Technician will give your child one-on-one ABA instruction under the supervision of your BCBA or BCaBA. Your child will practice goals in settings that include the family home, the community and our learning centers. The amount of time we spend with you and your child will be guided by your individual treatment plan.

Research shows that parent education and family participation greatly improves success. Our goal is to help you play an important role in your child’s progress. Together, our professionals and your family will create a strong support team in helping your child develop his potential.

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