The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism, September Issue

The September issue of our newsletter is now available. This month celebrate with our Waiver Services team as they received the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s Gold Seal of Approval.  You’ll also find information on changes to ABLE accounts, special fall programs and our first mom and female caregiver sip and meet event. 

The Star September issue can be found here.

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The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism, August Issue

The August issue of our newsletter is now available. This month you’ll find information about Walmart’s new sensory-friendly store hours, the new music therapy program at LittleStar and the Kennedy Space Center’s new autism certified designation.  There are also back to school tips.

The Star August issue can be found here.

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The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism, July Issue

The July issue of our newsletter is now available.  In June the first person diagnosed with autism died at 89.  Read about Donald Triplett in this month’s issue.  Also included is information about a new television series featuring characters with disabilities and grant opportunities for families.

The Star July issue can be found here.

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LittleStar CEO & Advisory Board Member Publish Book

Congratulations to Mary Rosswurm, CEO, and Dennis Reid, LittleStar advisory board member, on the release of their new book.  Written for adult service organizations, the book offers a comprehensive guide on how clinicians, psychologists, and mental health support staff can best assist adults with disabilities in living their desired lifestyle.

Promoting Desired Lifestyles Among Adults with Severe Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Person Centered Applications of Behavior Analysis uses a person-centered application of behavior analysis. The book provides procedures to help clients overcome challenging behaviors, pursue good relationships, and make good choices, while getting access to all of the support needed.

It provides information on staff training and supervision to insure staff motivation and client happiness. Ultimately, the goal is to allow client choice and personal control over their daily lifestyle.

This new book fills a much needed void in autism training and serves as another example of how LittleStar is focused not just on serving our patients, but also on advancing the field of ABA therapy.

The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism, June Issue

The June issue of our newsletter is now available here.  This month’s issue contains information about upcoming Apple software designed for people with disabilities, water safety tips and an exciting announcement from the CDC.

If you’d like to receive this monthly newsletter, you can sign up at this link.

The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism, May Issue

Click the link below to view the latest issue of The Star.  This month’s issue includes information about new programs coming to LittleStar, Chrysler’s new calm package, Beaches expanded autism services and much more!

The Star May Issue

The Star – August Issue

In the August issue of The Star – Your Guiding Light for Autism you’ll find information on an autism friendly airlines, upcoming events and much more.  To read this month’s issue click here  or sign up to receive each monthly issue straight to your inbox here.

Zionsville Dad Wins Important Victory for People with Autism

One of the original LittleStar families in 2002 recently fought Indiana Medicaid all the way to the Indiana Court of Appeals and won! Their victory is paving the way for other adults with autism to receive treatment that is too costly for most families to afford.

Tom Blessing and Victoria Blessing-Wade continue to advocate for their son, Connor, 24, who benefits from applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. Medicaid paid for Connor’s ABA therapy until his 21st birthday but denied payment after that based on his age. Connor had made significant strides with ABA therapy, and his family wished for him to continue.

Blessing, an education attorney, sued the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration on Conner’s behalf in Boone Circuit Court in July of 2020. The suit claimed Medicaid, under the direction of FSSA, arbitrarily denied Connor benefits for medically necessary treatment based on his disability.

FSSA previously deemed ABA therapy necessary for Connor until he turned 21 and then denied coverage of therapy solely based on his age. In her opinion in May, 2021, Boone Circuit Court Judge Lori Schein wrote “… The court concludes that the only individuals affected by the age restriction for ABA therapy are individuals with autism,” Schein wrote, adding, “Thus, the denial of Connor’s ABA therapy is a denial on the basis of his disability – autism.”

A denial based on disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and federal Medicaid law, Schein ruled. “… The cost of ABA therapy is not a valid reason to impose an age restriction on coverage,” the appeals court decision reads. “Budgetary concerns … do not outweigh Medicaid recipients’ interests in access to medically necessary healthcare, leading the courts to conclude that the age restriction denies access to medically necessary services in violation of federal law.”

FSSA appealed the ruling but recently lost when the appeals court upheld the ruling about using age to determine benefits. While Medicaid can no longer deny Conner on the basis of his age, but they could deny ABA therapy to others based on age because the rule is still on the books.

“Just because the judge ruled it’s unlawful and discriminatory doesn’t mean it no longer exists,” Blessing said. “We’re just one step closer.”

Now the rule, part of Indiana Administrative Code, will have to be repealed or edited to remove the age restriction by the Indiana General Assembly, Blessing said.

“What families have to do,” until then, Blessing said, “is submit a claim and make Medicaid deny it on the basis of age before they can challenge it. … If they deny it on other grounds, medical necessity, for example, this decision doesn’t apply.

As LittleStar celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, this is a great reminder that while we have accomplished a lot, there is still work to do. LittleStar will continue to fight for every person with autism.

2022 Big Stars for LittleStar Campaign Kicks Off

Since 2002, LittleStar has impacted the lives of thousands of children, teens, adults and families living with autism.

Please join us in April as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month with our Big Stars for LittleStar event.

Each LittleStar center will be planting a Star Garden of blue and gold stars to represent the current prevalence rate of autism—1 in 44. Each star honors a Big Star – people with autism, as well as individuals and organizations that support children and families affected by autism.

New this year businesses can show their support of people with autism by planting a Star Garden at their location. Let your employees and customers know that you support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. LittleStar will supply everything you need and even help you plant your garden!

Did you know that autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States? Your support makes it possible for LittleStar to help individuals with autism reach their goals and dreams. Thank you for being a Big Star for LittleStar!

Purchase your star today! If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Jill Vaught at [email protected].

Workshop tackles challenges of writing medically necessary treatment plans for autism

As many individuals throughout the United States can attest, getting insurance coverage for certain conditions can best be described as another form of hell. And it’s especially the case for many individuals with autism.

Treatments, even when shown to be effective, are regularly rejected. As one couple recently told Capital Public Radio, their insurance provider rejected their adult son’s ABA treatment because it was “not medically necessary based on recent and relevant scientific evidence.”

LittleStar ABA Therapy is addressing many of those challenges with the workshop, “Navigating the 10th Circle of Hell: A Roadmap to Writing Medically Necessary Treatment Plans.” The workshop is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2018, and can be attended online or in person at the Public Forum Room, National Louis University-Lisle Campus, 850 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Ill.

The one-day workshop provides tips for writing successful treatment plans that support medical necessity for health-insurance funded individuals with autism. These letters of medical necessity (LOMN) are reviewed by insurance companies or governmental agencies in determining whether to approve coverage for treatment.

The workshop will be led by Tim Courtney, MS, BCBA, the COO for Little Star Center, a non-profit organization based in Indiana.

Courtney regularly advocates for ethical billing, the enforcement of insurance mandates and medical necessity documentation. In 2006, he earned a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). In addition to earning his certification as a behavior analyst, he has been an instructor in the ABA department of FIT since 2008.

The topics covered during the workshop include:

  • How to organize all of the steps of a medically necessary treatment plan from pre-authorization through re-authorization.
  • How to state the necessary components of a comprehensive and focused treatment plan to meet medical necessity.
  • How to review diagnostic reports, behavioral assessments and the written treatment plan to ensure they justify medical necessity.

To sign up for the workshop, visit