By Joanne Kehoe, Little Star Center mom to Anthony
What has been the biggest challenge in finding services for your child? In the beginning, our biggest challenge was finding out what was possible for Anthony. He was in First Steps, but he aged out when he was 3 years old. Then, he started at a developmental preschool at our local public school. We found that, at the public school, there seemed to be very little knowledge about kids with autism, and we were extremely disheartened. A family friend, a psychiatrist at Riley, mentioned Little Star to me. We went to Little Star and liked it, and began the process of finding out how we could get insurance to cover it. Since my husband works for the federal government and their insurance plan is self-funded, they do not have to provide coverage for ABA therapy. A mom at Little Star gave me contact information for her insurance (representative) and we were able to get Anthony his own policy so that he could get his ABA therapy covered.
How did you overcome that challenge? We were lucky that so many people were willing to share information from their lives to help us move through ours. If we left it up to the public schools or the state – people who are supposed to help us – we would still be struggling!
How has Little Star Center provided support to your family? When Anthony started at Little Star, I remember very clearly when his program manager came to our house and asked us what we wanted for Anthony. We wanted him to be able to attend church and communicate with us so we could help him. I will never forget sitting at my kitchen table with the program manager and being amazed that these things were possible.
Anthony is the oldest of four children, and his younger sisters Maria and Veronica, ages 6 and 5, have been welcomed at Little Star for sibling play and they love it. It has gone a long way for them to see that Anthony is not the only person they know with autism.
During the last year, when we have been fighting with our insurance company, doctor and, seemingly, everyone about coverage for ABA therapy for Anthony, only the people at Little Star have been there to support us. They have offered financial support so that Anthony could still go to Little Star and not have his schedule disrupted. The people at Little Star have gone above and beyond what I would expect anyone to do for Anthony and we can’t say how much we appreciate it.
You could have chosen other ABA facilities for your child. What makes Little Star Center stand out from other ABA facilities? Little Star is the only facility we know of where they put the child first, give him what he needs, and not focus solely on making money and billing.
For what are you most grateful at Little Star Center? We are grateful to have people working with Anthony who not only know what they are doing, but who truly love and care about him. We know that the (concern) they have for Anthony is at the basis of all of the care they give us and we are forever indebted to them.