This is the "Local Services" page of the "Autism: A Parent's Resource Guide" guide.
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A resource guide for parents of children with autism to help locate information and sources of support.
Last Updated: Dec 8, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Tips for Evaluating Services

What to look for and what to avoid in programs:

1. Early intervention.

Does the program support starting as early as possible? Research shows the early services are implemented, the better the outcome will be.

2. Intensity.

Programs that have a higher adult to student ratio will be able to provide your child with more quality treatment. The intensity and length of the program should also be taken into consideration. The more often your child has the services per week the better.

3. Non-aversive procedures.

Does the program allow for the child to learn in an environment free of aversive procedures? Programs that use this "Error-less Learning" model avoid using the word "no" when working with children on the autism spectrum, associating it with aversive connotations.

4. Parental involvement.

Does the program support parent training? Programs that provide this will allow for more parent involvement regarding decisions made as a team and will also encourage you to continue the work your child does with the program outside of that environment in your home.

5. The word "Miracle."

This word can be misleading when programs use this word to describe their particular type of therapy. Be wary of programs that use this type of vocabulary. There is treatment, not "Miracle" therapies.

6. Lack of research or commitment to outside evaluation.

Does this type of therapy have evidence that has been scientifically researched and accepted within the community? Or, is the evidence anecdotal and based on parental comments?

7. Cost.

If you are looking at programs outside of what is covered by insurance, look realistically at the cost of the program as well as the benefits of the time and energy involved.

8. Can this therapy be used outside of the therapy session?

Consistency and repetition are important to maintain the skills learned in the session. Being able to generalize the skills your child learns in the program is an important part of the treatment process.

Information from Tissot, C. (1999). Decisions after diagnosis: a practical path for parents of children with autism. Early Child Development and Care, 157, 85-96.


Insurance Information

A Medicaid or Autism Waiver allows families to receive specific waiver services and certain Medicaid services to support them in their homes and communities.

Maryland Autism Waiver

Virginia Medicaid Waiver 

Washington, DC Medicaid Waiver

Here is a website detailing states who have Medicaid and disability waivers.

The Affordable Care Act

Military Resources


Early Intervention Programs

This therapy typically runs from birth to 3 years of age and usually includes speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy as needed. 

Here is a list of locally provided Early Intervention programs:

Abilities Network - Silver Spring, MD

Treatment and Learning Centers (TLC) - Rockville, MD

Autism Behavioral Solutions - Alexandria, VA

Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), Inc. - Alexandria, VA

A Piece of Mind - Washington, DC

National Children's Center: Early Intervention - Washington, DC

Here is a more complete list of Early Intervention Programs in the DC Metro area.


ABA Treatment Programs

There are many different treatment options available for your child. Make sure to thoroughly evaluate your options and choose the best fit for your child and your family.

Here some links describing what ABA therapy involves - Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis and The Autism Support Network.    

Provided below is a list of ABA based treatments in the DC Metro area:

Little Leaves Behavioral Services, Inc. - Silver Spring, MD

Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance - Columbia, MD

Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), Inc. - Alexandria, VA

Applied Behavioral Solutions, Inc. - Fairfax, VA

A Piece of Mind, Inc. - Washington, DC

Avail Outreach - Washington, DC

Here is a more comprehensive list of ABA programs.



This is a child directed 1:1 therapy based on ABA principles.

Here are a list of some locally available Floortime programs in the DC Metro area:

Children's Innovative Therapy Group, LLC. - Bethesda, MD

The Floortime Center - Bethesda, MD

Kid's Village Therapy - Columbia, MD

Here is a more comprehensive list of Floortime Programs.


While You are Waiting for Services

Parents often worry about what to do while they are waiting for services. Here are some tips:

  • Play!
  • Have fun!
  • Recognize your child's strengths and weaknesses!
  • Speak with other parents!
  • Learn about autism spectrum disorders!
  • Get involved in training opportunities!
  • Do not underestimate the importance of your role as a parent!

Information from The Hospital for Sick Children

Be sure to check out our Social Activities tab!


Speech and Language Therapies

Most children on the Autism Spectrum receive speech and language therapy. This is often offered through the school system. Here is a list of some other agencies in your area:

Communication Builders Therapeutic Services, LLC - Temple Hills, MD

National Speech/Language Therapy Center - Rockville, MD

Capitol Kids Speech Therapy - Washington, DC     

Building Blocks Speech Therapy - Washington, DC 

Here is a more complete list of services in the area.



The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), through the use of pictures, helps to facilitate communication for children with difficulty conveying their wants and needs in verbal form.

Click here for more information.


Respite Care

This service provides children with special needs and their families a break from the daily routine and is usually state funded.

Here are a list of local agencies providing this service:

Holistic Home and Community Services (HHCS), Inc. - Silver Spring, MD

Jill's House - Vienna, VA

The Lollipop Kids Foundation - Washington, DC

For a more complete listing of services, click here.


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