Children on the spectrum in Pennsylvania have long been denied what I believe to be a fundamental right to receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services through the state’s Medical Assistance program. Just as our constitution provides a right to life, liberty, privacy and other fundamental needs, I believe it also grants such a right to ABA. For many children on the spectrum, whose ability to effectively communicate with the outside is completely or almost nonexistent, ABA is the key to unlocking the door to the outside world.
I have brought several lawsuits against the Department of Human Services (DHS) challenging the byzantine system they set up; a system designed to block at every turn children with ASD who come to the Medical Assistance program with a valid prescription seeking ABA. The Disability Rights Network recently settled a Class Action lawsuit against the state. The settlement requires DHS to take several steps which should hopefully lead to future applicants to receive ABA through the Medical Assistance program. However, implementation of those steps will take 1-2 years and even then, the functional outcome remains unclear. Further, in the meantime, their are many children out there who desperately need ABA, and who are not receiving these services despite being eligible through Medical Assistance. If you know such a child, please let me know.