Supporting Autism Services in Santa Fe!


A Call To Action!

How do we in Santa Fe; a progressive, affluent community, support families who have children with autism? We can do this by increasing the understanding of what children on the spectrum need to succeed and by ensuring that private insurers and Medicaid create an adequate network of providers that specialize in treating autism.

The CDC states that 1:68 children in the US have autism. Based on these ratios and the 2013 New Mexico census, there are 431 children under the age of 18 who have autism in Santa Fe and 108 of those children are under the age of five. In Santa Fe, these children often wait over a year and a half for an autism diagnosis without which they cannot access appropriate services. Once they receive a diagnosis, they often have to wait another nine months to a year for intensive autism supports. This means a three-year-old child, for whom there is concern about autism, will be five by the time he gets the services he needs.

Intensive services for children with autism include applied behavioral analysis (ABA). The intensity of ABA services is often 20-30 hours a week and is provided in the home and community.  Research shows, time and time again, that ABA services are critical in helping children and youths grow into functional, independent adults. This is why, in New Mexico, private insurance, such as Presbyterian or Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Medicaid are legally mandated to provide medically necessary ABA for children and youth up to the age of 21 who have autism.

However, most families in Santa Fe who have a child with autism remain uninformed of these services and never pursue access to ABA. That said, even when a family requests ABA, the best-case scenario for a child with autism in Santa Fe is referral to a local ABA provider. Unfortunately, none of the current providers in Santa Fe are providing ABA for new clients. However, the child (new client) will be put on the ABA provider’s waitlist. That child may get lucky and get services in the next few months but it is more likely he will wait upwards of a year.

This lack of information regarding appropriate treatment for autism and a shortage of ABA providers in Santa Fe is affectively denying children with autism timely access to desperately needed, medically necessary care; profoundly affecting the children and families of our community.

This is a call to action! Please contact or call 505-471-4505 if you are a parent of a child with autism and would like more information regarding access to applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services in Santa Fe.

#Autism #BrightFutures