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Home / 5 Waitlist Tips for Parents With a Child with Autism

5 Waitlist Tips for Parents With a Child with Autism

Brought to you by Early Autism Services in Sterling Heights.

When waiting for the autism diagnosis, all parents experience varying amounts of emotions.

The wait time for a disnosis can vary greatly, while  some parents may only wait for one month, others may experience a wait time of two years or more. These wait times can be frustrating, because you may need of the diagnosis to start other critical services such as speech, OT, or even ABA services.

Moreso, some parents may experience an even greater frustration once they understand there is a waiting period for the “other services.” There are different tricks and tips to get through these waitlists a lot quicker- and time is important because you want to maximize early intervention.

Tip #1: Google is your best friend. Call at least 6 different providers.

The most important tip to remember is that majority of the companies providing speech, OT or ABA after diagnostics are not advocates for autism. Also, the individuals handling the phone lines may not be knowledgeable enough to provide further helpful information. The individuals handling the phone lines may share that the waitlist is 6 months to a year. However, they are likely not aware of other providers that have a shorter waitlist. Therefore, it is beneficial to call many different companies to find a good match for your family or find the company that does not have a waitlist.

Tip#2: Don’t wait on that AAEC, there are ADOS diagnosis that can be done QUICKLY!

The second tip relates to families with insurances such as blue cross blue shield (BCBS) or Blue care network (BCN). These insurances require an extensive diagnostic process that only certain companies can do. These are called AAEC evaluation sites. (See link These AAEC sites tend to have LONG waitlist times, typically over a year long. However, you can obtain a bridge authorization (auth) through other sites. This bridge auth tends to be an ADOS diagnosis. Some sites can get you a diagnosis within 1 month!! Once you obtain this ADOS-2 diagnosis, and obtain a letter from the AAEC stating your child is on the waitlist, your insurance will start covering for these other services like speech, OT, and ABA.

Tip #3: Sign up for Early On Services

Parents can start Early On services in Michigan as soon as your child is 3 years old. Depending on the county, the services may take place in your home or at a particular location! Though these services are amazing, you must remember that Early On is meant to prepare your child for the school setting, and to have appropriate IEP supports in place once your child is ready to attend school! There is a big difference between the medical diagnosis of autism and the educational diagnosis of autism.

The educational diagnosis of autism gives your child access to resources and therapies within the school setting. Each school can and will provide the best they can for each individual child and this will vary across school systems. A medical diagnosis will give you other therapies accessible through your medical insurance, which allows you more options in regards to how often you do these therapies and the location of the therapies as well! When going through early on, immediately ask the steps you need to do to obtain a medical diagnosis. We recommend going on multiple waitlists and waiting to see where you can get in first. Remember… early intervention is key for highest success with ABA therapy.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This process can be difficult and confusing, so if this is your first time trying to obtain an autism diagnosis in your family don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help! Call local ABA companies, join Facebook groups for families with autism, call your local school district, we are all here to help! Questions to keep in mind: “how long is your waitlist for services”, “what is the cost of ABA”, “what does my insurance cover”, “what is ABA”, “what do you work on during ABA” etc. No question is a bad question.

Tip #5 – Connect with the community!

Look for local autism resource organizations to be a part of. Engage in community programs, connect with other autism parents/families, attend local events, listen in on lectures, and join support groups. You are not alone, there is a great autism support group out there!

When getting an autism diagnosis, it is important to remember how important early intervention is. We don’t want families to continue experiencing years of waiting to get the services they need. We hope these tips can help you or someone else get through this process more smoothly. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Early Autism Services (EAS) and we will be happy to help you.

Early Autism Services

At Early Autism Services, we are passionate about the potential of your child. Since our founding in 2008, we’ve believed the best way to develop that potential is through proactive, personalized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy programs that enable families to work hand in hand with licensed professionals. We offer high-quality ABA services in Detroit and throughout the United States, Australia, and India.

Amber Louchart
Author: Amber Louchart

Amber is the proud mother to four beautiful children, Damian (27), Rosaleigh (14), Carlyn (11), and Naomi (8). Her family also includes four cats. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy. In addition to Metro Detroit Mommy, Amber has a passion for hosting karaoke with Malibu Entertainment.  She enjoys the metro Detroit nightlife especially, singing, dancing and meeting new people.