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Autism Programs & Services

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Nicole DwyerThe Autism Benefit management is led by Nicole Dwyer, ASD Benefit Specialist. Nicole possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge with over 10 years in the areas of Medicaid ASD Benefit Management, utilization management, quality management, access & engagement, children's services, and developmental disabilities programming. She is very passionate about her work, and has gone above and beyond to build a collaborative ASD provider network and ensure timely access to evidence-based ASD Benefit Services for individuals with Autism.

Nicole has been integral in the roll-out of the restructure and expansion of the Medicaid ASD Benefit in Wayne County and continues to strategically grow and develop the benefit to meet the needs of the families served. DWMHA's network has exceptional and dedicated ASD Benefit Providers that continue to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the families that we serve.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

ASD is a developmental disability caused by a problem in the brain. Scientists do not know yet exactly what causes ASD. ASD can impact a person’s functioning in different ways. People with ASD may have problems with social, behavioral, and communication skills. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. ASD begins during early childhood and last throughout a person’s lifetime.

Are You Concerned That Your Child May Have Autism?

Here Are Some Signs that May Identify The Need For An ASD Screening.
  • Not talking or suddenly stopped talking
  • Does not make eye contact
  • Does not return smiles
  • Not interested in other children
  • Lags behind same age children in skills
  • Has temper outbursts or tantrums — “melt downs”
  • Does not respond to his or her name
  • Does not like to cuddle
  • Is sensitive to clothing and textures
  • Has limited food preferences
  • Not respond to their name by 12 months
  • Not point at objects to show interest by 14 months
  • Not play "pretend" games at 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel 


What Is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
ABA is an intensive, behaviorally-based treatment that uses various techniques to bring about meaningful and positive changes in the communication, social interaction, and repetitive/restrictive behaviors that are typical of ASD. Each child will have an individualized Intervention Plan that breaks down desired skills into manageable steps to be taught. Each ABA Plan is designed for the individualized needs of the child and will include an average of 5 to 25 hours of direct interventions per week depending on medical necessity. These services are intensive and can be provided either in the home or in a clinic setting. ABA interventions require parent/guardian training and participation. ABA treatment can be used to address skills and behaviors relevant to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA focuses on increasing:
  • Language skills
  • Social skills
  • Communication skills
  • Following instructions
  • Peer interactions
  • Academic/cognitive skills
  • Following typical daycare/classroom routines
  • Self-help and daily living skills

What Should I Expect When I Access the ASD Benefit? 

The individual or guardian will be provided the following evaluations and assessments to determine eligibility for the Medicaid Autism Benefit and appropriate intensity of ABA services within the first quarter of request for services.

Step 1: Complete screening for ASD is completed by the child’s primary care physician or the DWMHA Access Center (800)241-4949.
Tools Used: 
  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT)
  • Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ)


Step 2: Complete the Diagnostic Evaluations to verify the child has ASD.
This process takes approximately 3 hours and may be completed over two or three appointments by a qualified licensed practitioner. Once completed, the results are sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for review/approval. This process can take up to 45 days from the point of service request to the point of ASD Benefit Approval. This evaluation is conducted annually for eligibility re-determination.

Tools Used: 

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS-2)
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)
  • Developmental Disabilities Clinical Global Assessment Scale (DD-CGAS)


Step 3: Complete Assessments and Develop the Plan of Service by assessing the strengths of the individual and develop goals the individual will focus on during the ABA services with the family and team.
  • Individual Plan of Service Development (IPOS) completed with IPOS Case Holder (Supports Coordinator/Case Manager/Independent Facilitator) and reviewed quarterly
  • Skills Assessments (ABLLS or VB-MAPP or AFLS) completed every six months while in treatment by BCBA or Qualified Behaviorist


Step 4: Begin ABA services with ABA Behavior Technician / ABA Aide:
  • Clinic, Home, or Community Setting
  • Individual or Group
  • Average of 5 to 25 hours per week depending on medical necessity and family interest
  • Services are supervised by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) or Qualified Behaviorist one hour per every 10 hours of service delivered
  • Parent Training

The child can work with their Supports Coordinator / Case Manager to connect to additional services that they may be eligible for, such as: 

  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Respite
  • Community Living Supports
  • Physical Therapy
  • Medication Management




ASD Training & Certification Resources
Evidence-Based Practice & Research Information

The Centers for Disease Control Act Early Information:


The Michigan’s Autism Program:

Navigation & Resource Guides
Other Resources

Click HERE for ASD brochures, policies, and other documents.

child being helped to piece together a puzzle

Both new and existing members in the DWMHA Network need to contact the DWMHA Access Center at (800)241-4949 to be screened and secure an ASD Intake appointment. 

Please contact Nicole Dwyer, the DWMHA Autism Benefit Program Specialist at (313)344-9099x3114 or if you have any questions or would like to arrange a training on the Medicaid Autism Benefit and/or the ASD Screening Tools.

The Michigan Medicaid Autism Benefit went into effect on April 1, 2013. This Autism Benefit provides individuals birth through twenty years old who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and active Medicaid coverage with access to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. 

Upcoming Events 2017

(Click on the event or flyer to view full details)

 DWMHA 2017 ADIR Training Flyer 5.25-5.26.jpg
DWMHA 2017 ABA Parent Engagement Training Flyer.jpg
ABA Benefit Behaviorist Consultation Group Flyer- FY17.jpg