Imua Family Services recently announced the launch of its newest program–Imua Autism Services. The program was created in direct response to the increasing numbers of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) combined with a history of working with children diagnosed with ASD.
Imua’s philosophy is that all children with ASD can learn and grow, improving the current and future quality of their lives. It is the organization’s intent to provide the scope of services that will result in children with ASD achieving their full potential and highest well-being, according to a spokesperson.
Highlights of the services provided through the program include Specialized Assessment, Individualized Instruction and Family Training. The new Imua Autism Services program will allow pediatric-age children to continue with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services.
“This is a time for families with children with ASD to celebrate,” said Imua executive director Dean Wong. “After years of struggle and only partial assistance available to parents, this year marks the beginning of more resources and much needed help. We are excited as always to be on the forefront of what we can do to assist families and provide for them.”
This year, Hawaii became the 42nd state to require certain health insurance plans cover treatment for ASD. The change in treatment, dubbed “Luke’s Law,” was named after a boy with ASD from the Big Island whose family’s drawn-out struggles to afford suitable health care made him a symbol for the autism community in Hawaii.
Children and adults with ASD often have problems with social, emotional and communication skills. They may avoid eye contact, prefer to be alone, not look at an object when another person points to it, have difficulty relating to and socializing with others, repeat actions over and over, have trouble adapting to a change in routine, or lose skills they once had.
Currently, Imua Family Services is a credentialed provider by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and is accepting both Kaiser Members and Kaiser Quest pediatric clients. The introduction of the ASD program increases Imua’s breadth of specialized programs and services it offers to the Maui County community.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s life. As of May 2013, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Diagnoses are now differentiated by the severity of the disorder, which can range from very mild to very severe.
Approximately 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; ASD is almost five times more likely to occur in boys than girls. Currently there are over three million individuals in the U.S. with the diagnosis.
Photo of the 2015 grand opening of Imua Family Services new offices courtesy Imua Family Services