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Feds Tell Ohio to Cover ABA Under 'Help Me Grow'

September 13, 2013

COLUMBUS (Sept. 13, 2013) -- The U.S. Department of Education has directed Ohio to provide ABA for children under age 3 through its federally supported "Help Me Grow" program, stepping into a dispute that is already the subject of litigation.

According to a report in Cincinnati.com, the online news site of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Melody Musgrove, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s special education programs, issued a letter to the Ohio Department of Health stating that its federally supported early intervention services need to include applied behavior analysis (ABA).

ABA for those in the Help Me Grow program was to be made available "to any child who is considered a good candidate to receive it," according to the report.

The letter noted that "the department is monitoring the litigation in Ohio," referring to a federal complaint filed by Holly and Robert Young after their son Roman was denied ABA coverage under the Help Me Grow program. The Autism Speaks Legal Resource Center has assisted the plaintiffs in the case.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett ordered the state to resume ABA for the child until his 3rd birthday when the Young's school district would then provide the therapy. The case is still in litigation.

Help Me Grow is Ohio’s birth-to-three program that provides state and federal funding to Ohio's 88 county Family and Children First Councils. The county agencies provide home visitation services for expectant parents, newborns, infants and toddlers up to age three who have or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities, as well as other populations. The program is administered by the state health department's Bureau of Early Intervention Services.