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In Michigan, insurance companies require an official autism assessment evaluation to be done at an AAEC (Autism Assessment and Evaluation Center) before approving ABA therapy services. However, due to long wait times at AAEC sites (1-2 years wait), most parents choose to have a qualified autism assessment done much earlier by a qualified health professional who is trained in administering the ADOS or ADOS-2 protocol. This allows parents to start ABA therapy services sooner by obtaining a bridge authorization for services through their insurance carrier.

A “qualified health care professional” is defined as a professional who is trained to conduct the diagnostic evaluation using approved methods and protocols. Professionals are typically one of the following: pediatric neurologist, developmental pediatrician, board-certified pediatrician, board-certified child psychiatrist, fully licensed child psychologist, or medical doctor experienced in the diagnosis of ASD.

bcbsm criteria for autism aba therapy 


How To Get A Bridge Authorization For ABA Services In Michigan

After receiving an official diagnosis and report from a qualified health care professional, your BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) can submit a plan of action for ABA therapy to your insurance carrier for an “ABA bridge authorization” for services. This authorization allows you to start receiving important ABA therapy services while you are still waiting for an assessment at an AAEC site. BCBAs are professionals who have met the certification and practice requirements set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). BCBA’s are qualified to design, implement and evaluate behavior-analytic interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. They are also responsible for ensuring that ABA therapy provided is based on the latest research and best practices in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Our Recommendation: We recommend calling an AAEC center and getting on their waitlist, all while simultaneously making a testing appointment with either Dr. Kat Lewitzke PsyD or any other qualified health professional of your choice. Following this path will ensure your child will get the necessary ABA services without potentially losing any more precious time without services.

A complete list of Approved Autism Evaluation Centers can be found below and here.

Find An Approved Autism Evaluation Center in Michigan

  1. Beaumont Center for Exceptional Families

    18501 Rotunda Dearborn, MI 48124
    Phone: (313) 996-1960

  2. Beaumont Children’s Hospital Center for Human Development

    30503 Greenfield Rd. Southfield, MI 48076
    Phone: (248) 691-4744

  3. Central Autism Assessment & Treatment Center (CAAT) (Central Michigan University)

    1101 Health Professions Bldg. Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859
    Phone: (989) 774-3904

  4. Covenant Center for Autism

    2919 E. Wilder Rd. Bay City, MI 48706
    Phone: (989) 671-5738

  5. Easterseals Michigan

    2399 E. Walton Blvd. Auburn Hills, MI 48326
    Phone: (248) 475-6400
    4065 East Hills Court SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
    Phone: (616) 942-2081

  6. Helen DeVos Behavioral Health Clinic – Spectrum Health

    35 Michigan St., Suite 5201 Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Phone: (616) 267-2830

  7. Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

    1 Ford Place Pediatric Admin, 4B Detroit, MI 48202
    Phone: (313) 972-9009

  8. Hope Network Center for Autism

    2875 Eyde Parkway
    1st Floor East Lansing, MI 48823
    Phone: (844) 969-0252

  9. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

    235 Wealthy Street SEGrand Rapids, MI 49503
    Phone: (616) 840-8807

  10. Michigan Medicine (formerly, University of Michigan

    Health System)

    *Multiple locations see link above.

  11. MidMichigan Health Pediatric Center

    32 S. Homer Rd. Midland, MI 48640
    Phone: (989) 492-7766

  12. Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

    300 68th Street St, SE
    P.O. Box 165 Grand Rapids, MI 49548
    Phone: (616) 258-7500

  13. University Center for the Child and the Family (UCCF) (University of Michigan)

    500 East Washington St., Suite 100 Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    Phone: (734) 764-9466

  14. University Pediatricians Autism Center

    21600 Novi Rd. Suite 800 Novi, MI 48377
    Phone: (248) 305-6172

  15. UP Health System Marquette –Specialty Clinic

    580 W. College Ave. Marquette, MI 49855
    Phone: (906) 225-4778

  16. WMed Pediatric Autism Center (WMedPAC)

    1000 Oakland Drive Kalamazoo, MI 49008
    2nd Floor, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
    Phone: (269) 337-6400

  17. Acorn Health940 N. Center Ave.
    Gaylord, MI 49735
    Phone: (844) 244-18181000 E. Paris SE, Suite 160
    Grand Rapids, MI 49546
    Phone: (844) 244-1818
    1363 Douglas Dr., Suite 104
    Traverse City, MI 49696
    Phone: (844) 244-1818

List Updated 1/21/2023

We offer Autism testing services at both our Clarkston and West Bloomfield locations. Typical wait times for an evaluation appointment is 60-90 days out. Please fill out our contact form and we will be in touch with you within 1-2 business days.

*If you require results right away, we do offer private pay expedited services outside of clinician normal business hours only twice a month. For more information please visit our expedited services page.

Free Autism Resources: Screener, Tools, and More:

We understand the importance of timely and accurate autism assessments. That’s why we offer a free autism screener test on our website. This tool below is designed to help you gauge whether further diagnostic psychological testing may be necessary. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive and professional approach to assist individuals in their journey toward understanding symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment. If you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of autism, we encourage you to take advantage of this free screener test on our website today.

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