The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) includes the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AZEIP) and the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). These organizations assist families in obtaining benefits and support for dealing with individuals with disabilities or individuals who are at risk for institutionalization. AZEIP covers children up to 3 years old, and DDD covers children older than 3 years old. Individuals who suspect a loved one may need services should contact the appropriate organization (see links on web page).
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS, pronounced “Access”) is the Arizona Medicaid system. Individuals brought into the AZEIP or DDD system may receive partially or fully funded services. Individuals covered under the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) typically receive the most fully funded services.
ALTCS funding covers services (e.g., OT, PT, speech therapy, ABA, misc.) for individuals with a diagnosis of ASD up to the age of 6. Once the individual reaches the age of 6, a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, is required for continued funding. Autistic Disorder is a more narrow interpretation of autism than what is generally referred to as ASD. Autistic Disorder can only be diagnosed by an Arizona licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
Anyone can make a referral to AZEIP or DDD. Information is recorded and appropriate referrals are made for evaluations for eligibility. To be eligible for AZEIP, a child needs to be at risk (before three years of age) for delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas (with onset prior to three years of age): social interaction, language used in social situations, or symbolic or imaginative play.
Most companies currently do not cover services for autism, although new legislation in Arizona (HB2847, aka “Steven’s Law”) mandates that companies (with some exceptions) will have to start providing services effective July 2009. Services to be provided include physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) programs. Privately insured companies, and companies with fewer than 50 employees, are exempt from the law.