Our ECA program (early childhood autism specialized habilitation, formerly known in AZ as hab-m) is going to be officially starting today after about a 7 or 8 month process. Today we will have our second meeting with our supervisors and receive our program. The process is long and exhausting as any autism family will tell you. ABA programs can be funded private pay for around $30-40k a year, can be mostly funded through private insurance if you’re lucky enough to have one of …those plans and you may pay your deductible, or you can try and qualify for long term care through the state. All three methods involve wait lists, phone calls, frustrations, habilitator interviews, etc. I’ve known families waiting for a few years so 8 months isn’t so bad.
In our case we also live in an area that has been known to be harder to staff with habilitators, since most of the agencies are based in more central Phoenix. You can wait for your agency to match you, but it can add an additional year possibly to starting your program. I placed ads on various school websites, various free employment websites and care. Com. I went through hundreds of ads, did a few weeks of interviews. We found an AWESOME hab who then had to go through the process of hiring and training through our agency. In the meantime she has been doing some respite hours and getting to know Anthony. We’ll talk about her soon.
At the same exact time, like literally the same day I found her, my agency contacted me with someone they wanted me to meet. Which is crazy since it normally takes so long to match. I was skeptical since I knew nothing about this person, no resume, no background. But in fairness I let them come over. Fate smiled upon us that day. Dino Hab and A are connected like two peas in a pod. This girl is so wonderful inside and out. Dino Hab was meant to find us I think. We have had a little over a month for ‘pairing’ or A and her getting to know each other so the transition to therapy 30(ish) hours a week isn’t so hard. Dino Hab has been such a blessing to our entire family. A and P love her, I never thought I’d find someone I would trust. It’s important that these girls feel comfortable here with the boys and us so this works. This is their environment, their safe place. Good thing Dino Hab can take my sarcasm and dish out a healthy dose of her own via text all while maintaining the high energy praise and reinforcement A needs. Welcome to the family Dino girl.