Autism Society of Wisconsin

New To Autism

You may suspect that there is something different about the way your child is developing. If this is the case, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is an important first step to finding help for your child. Don't wait, call the Autism Society of Wisconsin to help you find a provider who can perform a developmental evaluation.


The Autism Society of Wisconsin wants to help families new to the diagnosis find the information and resources that may be needed to help a loved one. Our Next Steps Booklet is a guide for families new to the diagnosis of autism. Listed below are other important first steps to accessing services for your child. The Autism Society has another publication you may find helpful titled After the Diagnosis.

Birth to 3

If a child is younger than 3, accessing Birth to 3 services is a good place to start. No matter where you live in Wisconsin, the county of residence is responsible for providing Birth to 3 services to eligible children and their families. Your county Birth to 3 professionals will work in partnership with you to:

  • Identify goals and outcomes for your child and family to support your child's ability to grow, learn and communicate
  • Provide information and assistance so you can support your child's development
  • Help you connect with other families
  • Help you connect with community resources and training opportunities

Your county Birth to 3 professionals will work in partnership with you to identify outcomes for your child and family which will support your child's ability to grow, learn and communicate. For more information about services in your county, visit the Birth to 3 Program Primary Point of Referral page.

Early Childhood

Each school district in Wisconsin is responsible for providing a continuum of Special Education and Related Services to Children with Disabilities and who need special education. Children are evaluated to determine if they met the one of the state's eligibility criteria. Special education and related services may provide consultation to staff, direct services to the child, training related to the disability, and other services that are identified in the child's Individualized Education Program.


Services such as intensive autism treatment, speech, physical and occupational therapy, and other therapies may be covered by insurance plans or Medical Assistance. Public and private insurers are included, but by federal law, self-funded (self-insured) plans are not. Families should check with their insurance providers to find out what services are covered by their specific benefit plans. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has prepared a FAQ document on the autism insurance mandate.

2016: A New Behavioral Treatment Benefit to be Provided Under Wisconsin Medicaid and Other FowardHealth Programs

In July 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) directed states to provide coverage of autism treatment services as a regular statewide Medicaid benefit. In response, the Department of Health Services (DHS) is transitioning coverage of autism treatment services from the CLTS Waiver Program to a new behavioral treatment benefit under ForwardHealth. ForwardHealth includes BadgerCare Plus, Medicaid, and the Katie Beckett Program.

Issued December, 2, 2015
Department of Health Services - Behavioral Treatment Benefit and Other Support Services for Children with Autism Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ'S) By Families

The behavioral treatment benefit will be available beginning January 1, 2016, for the following groups:

The new behavioral treatment benefit will be funded as a regular ForwardHealth benefit (like a physician service or a well-child screening) instead of through the CLTS Waiver Program.The CLTS Waiver Program will continue to provide support services to meet children's assessed needs.

To find out more about the new benefit, to view a web cast of a recent training for families, and view the handouts of the training, visit the Department of Heath Services website at

Children's Long Term Support Waiver

Services may be available under the Children's Long Term Support Home and Community Based Waivers in Wisconsin for your child. The CLTS Waivers are available to children and youth under the age of 22 who have a developmental disability, physical disability, or severe emotional disturbance and who meet eligibility requirements. They are available in all counties across Wisconsin. If your insurance company does not cover autism services OR if you have expensive co-pays or deductibles, the CLTS Waiver may be able to provide some coverage. To start this process, contact your CLTS County Contact.

Connect with other Parents and Families

Connecting with other parents can be invaluable no matter where you are in your journey with autism. Click here to see if there is a local support group in your area. You may be able to connect with other families by attending parent support group meetings and/or other events in your area.

Join our listserv to receive updates from ASW and share information about resources with other parents and professionals. You can also find us on Facebook!