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Firefly Autism works to shorten the waitlist for autism diagnosis

Firefly Autism works to shorten the waitlist for autism diagnosis
Posted at 6:12 AM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 09:15:26-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — According to the CDC, 1 in 76 children in Colorado is diagnosed with autism. But those are just the numbers of the diagnosed. Research shows that the average waitlist for an autism diagnosis in Colorado is three years.

5News reporter, Caroline Peters spoke with Dr. Tanner Simpson of the Firefly Autism non-profit organization that started in Denver and has gained so much traction, they opened services right here in the Springs. Firefly Autism’s evaluation process not only looks at those characteristics related to neurodevelopment challenges, but also at cognitive functioning, adaptive functioning and they interview all relevant stakeholders, such as parents, doctors, and teachers. After the evaluation, they provide an in-depth feedback session so the family understands why this diagnosis is important.

“When we think about autism specifically, we like to look at it as a developmental disability out of deficient, so we’re teaching these individuals these skills they’re lacking so if we can get in there as early as possible to teach those skills, it lays the foundation for those individuals to continue growing and developing those skills throughout their life,” said Dr. Simpson.

“So if we’re not identifying an individual under let's say a diagnosis of autism until eighteen, those are essential years before that that we could have been providing services, and without a diagnosis, it’s extremely challenging to accessing ABA services, those home base services we were talking about and you do then run into those additional wait times when you’re not receiving services under a diagnosis.”

Firefly Autism offers diagnoses for all ages, children, through adults. Dr. Simpson says those who receive a diagnosis later in life can still benefit from the programs the non-profit offers.

Those services include home-based services, social skills training, occupational therapy, and much more. For more information, visit here.