Who we are?

Faced with special education programs that were not meeting her children’s social and academic needs as well as overwhelming cost of medically necessary treatments that were routinely denied by their private insurance, Arzu Forough founded Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy (WAAA) in 2007. Since then WAAA has become a leading voice in raising awareness, improving access to treatment and effective education for children with autism throughout Washington state. We are  a community inspired volunteer run organization, with parent advocates working together to bring about positive change to our communities and regions. Our members come from all walks of life and with many experiences, but one core belief binds us together our children deserve to be given every opportunity to become productive members of our communities.

 

Our vision:

  • Removing barriers to insurance coverage of effective autism treatment in the state of Washington
  • Promoting Clinical Practice Guidelines for evidence based treatment of autism
  • Promoting an adequate network of healthcare providers (including behavioral and allied health treatments) with bonafide autism experience statewide, regardless of funding source (Medicaid, private insurance)
  • Providing support, guidance, and resources to families and professionals towards making effective autism treatment and socially significant habilitative programs attainable statewide

What we have achieved? WAAA has been  instrumental in passage and funding of critical legislation that  improved access to appropriate education and intensive behavior supports for children with Autism.

  • SSB6743 Regarding Training and Guidelines for Teachers of Students with Autism – Requires training and autism endorsement for all teachers working with students with Autism
  • SB6742/HB3152 Best Practice Guidelines for Parents and Educators of Students with Autism – Requires dissemination of IEP best practice guidelines to special education administrators throughout Washington (download a copy).
  • SB5117 Children’sIntensive In-home Behavior Supports Medicaid Waiver – brings intensive in home behavior supports to children with autism and other disabilities in crisis due to challenging behaviors
  • Autism Amendments in the Federal Healthcare Reform Act of 2010 – added neurodevelopmental and behavioral therapies to basic health for children with autism and other developmental disorders listed in the most current version of DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

Since 2010, WAAA has been instrumental in implementation of Mental Health Parity, ensuring individuals with ASD’s have access to evidence based treatments for Autism. When needed we’ve been involved in lawsuits that have resulted in insurance and medicaid reform for 12000 children statewide.

What are we working on right now? We provide in person,  phone and online family advocacy, statewide family preservation programs, training and resources  for children, adolescents and young adults with ASD’s and their families.

  • Our current projects include improving provider capacity under the new insurance & Medicaid settlements (i.e. building an adequate network of ABA services coordinators and interventionists statewide).
  • We’re reforming how schools statewide are serving students with social emotional challenges and defining practice guidelines around of seclusion and restraints of students in schools, by promoting positive behavior supports and effective researched based education programs.

Ongoing Projects:

  1. Autism Insurance Reform
  2. Parent Advocacy Network
  3. Gift of Time
  4. Friendship Matters
  5. Statewide Training Workshops
  6. Statewide Resource Directory

Thank you for standing with us for change!

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