Friday, August 31, 2012

How to know if you're getting the best quality treatment services for your child

It comes down to five things:

1. tell the truth,
2. share fairly,
3. be thankful,
4. help others and
5. move forward.

If your service provider fails on any of these things, they need to repair themselves before they can be more than superficially helpful. If they don't want to fix deficits in any one of these areas, you should seek another service provider.

If they aren't telling the truth (as you understand it), then they're not "pulling in the same direction as you are" and that means that to some extent, they're pulling against you. You can't have that. If you give them material to learn and they ignore it, or disagree with it (and can't convince you that they're right), it's time to seek help elsewhere. Sometimes, your own sense of right and wrong is more on‐target than the sense that a stranger has, based on their necessarily more‐limited understanding of "the way it is" with your child.

If they're not expecting you to share the responsibility for helping your child fairly (if they're "doing all the work" and letting you think that you're not a necessary part of the treatment program), then they're giving you a false idea of your own importance and value in your child's life. If they're expecting you to "do all the work" they're not fulfilling their responsibility as a professional service provider. There has to be balance in the delivery of treatment for it to be optimally successful.

If they're not thankful to be helping you, they don't deserve the opportunity to offer help to you (or anyone else). The least they can be is thankful for your trust and strive to repay your trust by working diligently (and without complaints or sloth) to do the best they can for you and your child. Late arrivals for scheduled appointments is the first sign that they're not thankful enough.

If they're not helping, they're not using their time, your time, or your child's time productively. If they're willing to use their time nonproductively, they should use it somewhere else.

If they're not showing that they are helping you and your child move forward, they have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a better plan to do so. If they want you to be content to "keep things stable" then they want you to be satisfied with the illusion of treatment.

Steve Kossor
Founder and Executive Director
The Institute for Behavior Change

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Medicaid Eligibility – the “Medically Needy” category

The Medically Needy Medicaid eligibility option enables states to provide Medicaid coverage to individuals who meet the Categorically Needy eligibility requirements, but exceed the income standards. States can also use this option to extend children's coverage up to age 21. All states that offer medically needy programs must cover children under age 18 who, except for income, would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
All of the following states had a “medically-needy” category of Medicaid eligibility in place as of 2009. If you live in one of these states, and you do not meet the Medicaid income requirements, your child may still qualify for Medicaid if he/she is disabled and under the age of 18.  Medicaid eligibility in such cases can be based on the child’s income – not the family’s – and thereby give the child access to Medicaid’s mandatory EPSDT benefits which include Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS).

the District of Columbia                          
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
West Virginia

  • If states offer a medically needy program, they must cover:
    • Pregnant women
    • Children under 18

  • States have the option of covering:
    • Children over 18 but under 21
    • Parents and other caretaker relatives
    • Elderly individuals
    • Individuals with disabilities (who are not "children under 18")

Since Medicaid eligibility varies by state, the groups and categories of people who qualify for Medicaid can change from time to time. To find out if your child qualifies for Medicaid, you should contact your State Medicaid Office for specific details about eligibility in your state.  Be sure to ask if your state has adopted the “Medically Needy” category of eligibility like these states have.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

BHRS in a Wraparound Cup ®

Nathan's Voice is a terrific resource and I'm thankful that Lorrie has given me an opportunity to distribute information about The greatest treatment funding secret ever concealed: The Medicaid EPSDT mandate. It has existed throughout the United States and its Territories since 1989 and funds the delivery of “medically necessary” Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) in homes and schools that is “sufficient in amount, duration and scope to reasonably achieve the purpose for which it is furnished, whether or not the treatment is part of any state plan.” In 36 states a child with a disability under the age of 21 can be enrolled in Medicaid regardless of family income, and can access treatment funding through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) mandate. The Network for Behavior Change, a private psychology group practice I created, started providing BHRS to children about 20 years ago. To support the work of the Network psychologists, I created a nonprofit foundation to recruit, train, deploy and monitor the unlicensed staff working under their supervision called The Institute for Behavior Change.

By contracting with enrolled Medicaid providers like The Network for Behavior Change that scrupulously adhere to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists as well as all Medicaid requirements, parents can confidently advocate for their children in schools to get the Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) they deserve. Our staff work with the child in the school, at home and in the community providing therapeutic behavioral interventions 20, 30 or more hours every week. If you live in the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania 
(Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia counties), the referral process for parents is very simple: visit and download our referral form, fill it out and fax or mail it back and we'll take it from there.

I created the community-based mental health treatment model for children called BHRS in a Wraparound Cup® in 1981 and learned through independent researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Villanova University and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia that it is an extremely effective, efficient means of delivering mental health treatment and behavioral support services to children. It is a “force multiplier” strategy because it increases the effectiveness of a single licensed psychologist by a factor of 30, so it is ideally suited to meeting the needs of children with behavioral challenges in urban, suburban and rural communities throughout America. This model is fully compliant with all Medicaid EPSDT statutes and is compatible with all state Medicaid plans, so programs delivering BHRS in a Wraparound Cup® can be implemented in homes, schools and communities throughout the America, funded by the Medicaid EPSDT mandate at little or no cost to parents. In fact, the model I created utilizes professional mental health treatment 
resources most efficiently and can work anywhere in the world.

Parents, advocates and mental health practitioners can visit where they can obtain more than 500 real-world BHRS treatment plans that were actually successful, with the data that documents it. They can use these plans as a foundation for evaluating client needs, knowing that Medicaid funding for comparable treatment plans has been granted in Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. Behavioral treatment plans that incorporate all of the BHRS in a Wraparound Cup® standards can be funded under the Medicaid EPSDT mandate as a Civil Right for children with mental illnesses and behavioral challenges who are enrolled in Medicaid in any state; Pennsylvania set the example for this in 1992 but state governments do their best to hide EPSDT funds from everyone -- except schools. Schools take a lot of Medicaid money. 

I provide case management services throughout the world via and have testified in US Federal courts several times as an expert witness regarding psychological testing and treatment, Medicaid, EPSDT funding, Special Education and Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services.

Steve Kossor
Founder and Executive Director, The Institute for Behavior Change

“The Moral of the Story Is…”

This is a Guest Post written by friend that I recently met through a social sharing site called Triberr. When you have finished reading the article that he has written for Nathan's Voice, and if you are interested in visiting Mike's blog, please click the link towards the end of this post.      

What is the “Moral of the Story Is” and what could I possibly have to share with a blog about Autism?  That is the question I pondered when Lorrie approached me about writing a guest blog.  She had been kind enough to do a piece for my site and I wanted to be able to return the favor.  She shared in wonderful detail about Nathan’s Voice for my readers.  I’m a self depreciating, cynical, smart aleck. What could I offer people that deal with such a serious topic as special needs children?  I believe the answer is; a common voice.

I owe all whom are reading this, a clarification to the last sentence.  I do not have any special needs children.  I don’t have any children at all.  My wife and I have dogs, and that’s as close as we come to having something we are responsible for that relies on us for daily survival.  The best I can offer to anyone with children, much less special needs children, is empathy.  To anyone that might be offended I suggested we share a common voice, all I ask is that you read on before you pass judgment.

Fear, love, happiness, sorrow, joy, pain, peace and calamity are among many of the emotions I’ve felt in my life.  There are not only words, but emotions and often are experiences.  Without assuming I know anyone who is reading this, I suspect these are emotions that we have in common.  In my opinion, these are some of the very same emotions that bind all people together as a society.  My experiences in life will never be identical to anyone else.  What I feel while I experience my life is almost always identical. 

I started, and my current goal of having it as a common ground for people to share their experiences was not my intention.  I’m very pleased to say it is what I want for the site going forward, but it started under a different notion. 

Having looked back on some of the things I’ve experienced and some of the stupidity I’ve gotten myself into, I thought it would be fun just to share those moments with the world.  I cannot answer why I thought that would be a good idea, but I wanted to none the less.  As I wrote story after story from my life there was something very common about all of them.  I enjoyed adding what I felt and how I experienced each one of those moments.  At first I thought sharing my emotions during my life made me vulnerable.  As I continued to write, I realized just how wrong I was about feeling vulnerable.  Sharing the emotions and thoughts I felt in life had empowered me.  The empowerment came from the realization that I am not alone.  I am not unique by having fears, happiness, pain and calamity.  I am but one of many.

 Yes, I still love to write sarcastic tweets about news events and love to post a Face book link to something stupid someone did.  In keeping true to who I am, well, that’s who I am.  I find humor in the absurdity of others.  Sadly, there’s never a shortage of material to choose from.  I digress.

The real passion I have for “The Moral” kicked in as I started to ponder human emotion.  I may be too egotistical, but I hadn’t really considered that other people felt the same way I did before.  Until recently, I hadn’t had conversations with neighbors or coworkers and considered they might be frightened or going through pain TOO.  Having this new bond with the rest of humanity has driven me to want to experience more and more of it.  I want to know about people and what they experience in their life.  I’m truly fascinated. 

Now that I firmly believed we were all walking through life together, I couldn’t help but notice how much our society tries to drive us apart.  Ever watch the cable news?  The entire format tends to be about some group of people and why they’re different and/or wrong from us.  (Looking at you FOX & MSNBC) Ever watch reality tv game shows?  It’s always about one person surviving to win while everyone else gets left behind.  I’ll go so far as to group most “reality tv” together.  Those shows prey on the fact that viewers will want to see how “other people live”.  It all perpetuates an us/them mentality.  No matter what the us/them is about, there’s “us” and then there’s “them”. 

It saddens me that we continue to find new ways to be different from each other.  No, I am not suggesting that individuality is bad.  Be your own person.  What does bother me, is that as a society, we’ve reached a point where “different than me = bad.”  I challenge you to think about that last sentence for a second.  Just to yourself.  Do you see it in society?  Maybe do you see it in yourself?  I suggest we stand up and stop looking at what makes us different (religious or atheist, rich or poor, married or single, etc, etc) and go back to finding that common ground that makes us all the same. 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a diverse group so far with The Moral.  I’ve gotten to know on a different level; a special needs parent, a radio dj, a fitness guru, an author, professional wrestler, and Iraq War veteran.  I hope to only continue to diversify the group and meet more people.  They each had a different story to share, yet each one of them was the same as me and the same as you.  Each is a person trying to live their life and have learned their lessons along the way.

I’m going to keep doing what I do.  I hope the idea catches on and my site grows.  If you look on my site, you’ll see no advertising, so my dream is not to get rich off creating The Moral.  My goal is that over time a library of morals will be available for others to share and read.  I hope we find a collective inspiration in understanding that while all our lives are different, we share so much in common with each other.

I end each piece I write for my site with “The moral of the story is…” and if you’ll indulge me here I’d like to do the same.  The moral of the story is, I’m honored to walk through my life with all of you and I hope you feel the same.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Upcoming Training Opportunities in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Autism Network would like you to be aware
of several exciting trainings in Oklahoma this Fall.
Visit our website at for more information.

To register for trainings provided by the Oklahoma Autism Network,
please email to request the registration form and then fax the completed registration form to 405.271.2630
or e-mail your registration information to .

Oklahoma Autism Training and Events

No More Meltdowns (Part I) 
September 6, 2012 , Enid,  OK
Part I: Understanding Your Child and Yourself. No More Meltdowns is a 3-part series based on Dr. Jed Baker’s book to help parents and caregivers understand and manage challenging behavior.  This training is offered in collaboration with Garfield County Sooner Success and free child care is available.  To make child care arrangements you must contact Amy at Christ United Methodist Church at 580-237-3938.

Applying ABA Principles and Strategies in the Classroom 
September 7, 2012 , Stillwater,  OK
A hands-on guide for improving the outcomes of children with Autism in inclusive classroom settings.

Challenging Behavior: What Should We Do? (Part I) 
September 14, 2012 , Clinton,  OK
Part I: A Positive Behavior Support (PBS) framework for determining why children engage in challenging behavior.

2012 Assistive Technology Expo 
September 20, 2012 - September 21, 2012 , Broken Arrow,  OK
The Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center has changed the time frame for our annual Assistive Technology Expo to the fall. Plan to attend and gain new information at the start of your year.

Helping Young Adults with Autism Transition from School to Adulthood 
September 28, 2012 , Oklahoma City OK
This course will focus on the current state of transitions from school to adulthood.

No More Meltdowns (Part II) 
October 4, 2012 , Enid,  OK
Part II: De-escalating the Meltdown and Understanding Behavior. No More Meltdowns is a 3-part series based on Dr. Jed Baker’s book to help parents and caregivers understand and manage challenging behavior.  This training is offered in collaboration with Garfield County Sooner Success and free child care is available.  To make child care arrangements you must contact Amy at Christ United Methodist Church at 580-237-3938.

Challenging Behavior: What Should We Do? (Part II) 
October 5, 2012 , Clinton,  OK
Part II: Use the PBS framework to prevent and replace challenging behavior.

Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference 
October 22, 2012 - October 23, 2012 , Norman,  OK
Please visit  for more information on the Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference.

Bully Free is the Way To Be! 
October 30, 2012 , Omega, OK
Do you know what to do if your child or student tells you he or she is the victim of a bully? Sooner SUCCESS invites you to attend a FREE training.

Promoting Social Skills in Children with ASD (Part I) 
November 2, 2012 , El Reno, OK
This two part series will focus on skill lessons and activities for children with social deficits. Part I will provide assessment tools as part of hands-on experience.

Challenging Behavior: What Should We Do? (Part III) 
November 9, 2012 , Clinton, OK
Part III: Monitoring the effectiveness of your behavior support plan and implementing change.

No More Meltdowns (Part III) 
November 15, 2012 , Enid,  OK
Part III: Creating a Plan to Prevent, Replace, and Respond to Your Childs Behavior.  No More Meltdowns is a 3-part series based on Dr. Jed Baker’s book to help parents and caregivers understand and manage challenging behavior.  This training is offered in collaboration with Garfield County Sooner Success and free child care is available.  To make child care arrangements you must contact Amy at Christ United Methodist Church at 580-237-3938.

Promoting Social Skills in Children with ASD (Part II) 
December 7, 2012 , El Reno,  OK
This two part series will focus on skill lessons and activities for children with social deficits. Part II will focus on addressing appropriate skill selection and goal development based on the assessments conducted.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FREE Vision Screenings Next Week!!

Oklahoma Vision Development Center is hosting FREE vision screenings for children ages 6-18 from August 20-24. The screening will test eye tracking, eye teaming, visual processing and acuities. 

When?  August 20-24, 2012
             Monday-Thursday 8:30am-5:00pm,
             Friday 8:30am-11:30am

Where? 4520 S. Harvard Ave. Ste. 100, Tulsa, OK

Why? August is Vision and Learning Month. We want to educate parents on the link between vision and learning then determine whether or not a child has a learning related vision problem.

Screenings are by appointment only. Please call 
918-633-9085 to schedule your appointment today!

Dr. Monte Harrel's training is in development and children's vision. He has a passion for helping kids and educating parents and professionals on the options that are available for kids.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Looking Back But, Moving Forward

     Our experiences are special and unique in every way. Another person's experience may be similar but, not exactly the same. I recently discovered a blog called "The Moral of The Story Is" which prompted me to evaluate what our family has overcome and what we have learned from our experiences.

     I am excited to share a little more of myself and my family's experiences with you, as a Guest Writer on The Moral of The Story Is and hope that you will take the time to browse around Mike's site afterwards. Thank YOU for your continued support of "Nathan's Voice"!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Your Donation Will Help Oklahoma #Autism Families

     Start your Labor Day Holiday on Friday and contribute to a great cause by playing golf in the "Drive for Autism" at Coffee Creek!  We will start off with a free lunch at 11:30.  We will have a shotgun start at 1 PM.  There will be great goodie bags and prizes for 1st and 2nd flights. 
Individual golfers pay just $125 and teams can enter for $500 for all the fun.  This event promises to be a great experience for everyone!     

     For those of you that will not be able to participate in the Drive for Autism golf event on Friday, August 31st but still want to make a donation in honor of a loved one on the spectrum, please visit our donations page today! Please let us know in the notes, at the bottom of the donation page, the name of the person who it is in honor of and we will make mention of them here on Nathan's Voice as well as at the golf event. If you would like to donate in support of our son Nathan Servati, please leave a comment below or email me at ♥ Thank YOU for your support!