From Autism Diagnosis to Discharge: Understanding Your Child’s Path to Care

If you suspect your child has a developmental disability like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be wondering what to do next. Trust your instincts and act early as it can make a big difference.  A professional evaluation is the crucial first step, so talk to your child’s pediatrician. They can conduct a developmental and behavioral screening to see if your child is hitting their milestones. They can also refer you to a specialist or a behavioral healthcare organization like Catalight who can help guide you along the care journey.

At Catalight, we make it easy for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to access the high-quality care and services they need. Here are the six steps in our process:

  1. Conduct a Diagnostic Assessment – Within four to seven days of receiving the referral, we meet with clients and their families to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic assessment. This can be done virtually or in person, depending on the family’s preference. The assessment includes a thorough clinical evaluation and a discussion with the caregiver to understand their stress and confidence levels. All of this information is compiled into a comprehensive report, which our multidisciplinary care team uses to develop the initial treatment plan that aligns with the unique needs and goals of the client’s family.
  2. Match Clients and Providers – Next, we strategically match the client and their family with the right provider within our robust network. To do this, we consider several different factors such as the client’s medical history, age, language, services required, and number of expected treatment hours. We also consider the provider’s skill set, availability and location. All of the providers in our network go through an intensive vetting process, so we ensure they align with our high-clinical standards, outcomes and values.
  3. Develop a Care Plan – Since one size doesn’t fit all, our multi-disciplinary team will then work with the provider to create a personalized care plan for the client. Our providers take a family-centered approach to care, empowering parents with choices to meet the unique needs of the entire family. We use a data-driven model, innovative practices and evidence-based treatments to make sure the plan meets the client’s needs – and that it empowers caregivers with flexibility and choices they need.
  4. Monitor and Track the Delivery of Care – To ensure that our clients achieve their goals, we continually monitor the delivery of care and refine the treatment plan as needed. We also closely track their progress. One of the ways we do that is by asking the client and their family to complete a Wellbeing Scale every six months. This 15-question self-assessment measures their quality of life and gives us a better understanding of how the treatment is going. In addition, parents fill out a four-question Catalight Parenting Self-Efficacy Scale, which helps us understand their perception of their child’s treatment and their ability to teach their child learned interventions.
  5. Provide Ongoing Support – Throughout the care process, our clinical case managers support families every step of the way and serve as their primary point of contact. If families have insurance questions or need other resources or programs, our Care Coordinators are ready to help. We also offer various online tools and resources including myBrighlink. This mobile application allows families to share information with their providers in real time. Plus, it offers valuable educational information and opportunities to find support from other families in the community.
  6. Discharge Clients from Care – Once the client has successfully reached their treatment goals, which typically takes two or three years, we’ll put together a discharge timeline. Our goal is to help the client and their family smoothly transition out of our care, making sure all of their questions are answered and they have the information they need going forward. Last, we’ll put together a discharge report, outlining the treatment provided and outcomes, for the provider that referred the client to us.

With the support of highly experienced behavioral healthcare professionals, your child can live a more independent, fulfilling life. And you can learn effective strategies and techniques to reduce stress and improve the overall wellbeing of your entire family.