Finding and Choosing a Therapist Information Sheet
This information sheet from ASERT provides suggestions on how to find a therapist and other service providers as well as important questions to ask to ensure the provider will be the best one for your child.
Locating a professional to provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), speech therapy (ST), occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), ABA, talk therapy, and a variety of other services can be difficult. Here are some suggestions to help find a therapist as well as questions to make sure the therapist will be the best one for your child.
Read and learn about Act 62, the Autism Insurance Act of PA
In Pennsylvania, your child’s autism-related services may be covered by private health insurance, Medical Assistance (MA) or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under Pennsylvania’s Autism Insurance Act (Act 62). ACT 62 is a statewide insurance mandate specific to services provided to children and adolescents with autism.
Call your insurance company and ask for participating providers
This will help you know what your options are for providers in your insurance network.
Apply for Medical Assistance (MA)
Medical Assistance (MA), also known as Medicaid, is an important payer for autism services. Even if you have private insurance, MA can be used as a secondary insurance to cover co-pays and additional services for your child. All behavioral health services are covered under managed care, so if you are trying to get Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS), you will need to apply for MA.
If your child has MA, contact your Special Needs Unit (SNU)
The Special Needs Unit (SNU) for the health plan you selected through HealthChoices can help you locate a provider with the specialized services your child requires.
Ask for referrals
Ask for referrals from your developmental pediatrician, family doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, neurologist, or any other provider that works with your child.
Connect with your local support group
Get personal reviews from other parents of the providers they have used in the past.
Contact the PA Elks Home Service program
This program provides support and advocacy services to individuals of any age with a developmental disability.
Once you find a provider, it's important to ask questions to ensure they will be a good fit for your child and your family. Consider the following questions during your first visit:
- How much experience do you have in your current position?
- What is your educational and professional background?
- What degree(s), certifications or licenses do you hold?
- What services are you allowed to provide for my child?
- What is your experience working with people with autism? What ages?
- What is your experience with the co-occurring conditions that are common with autism?
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.