Jan 16, 2024, CBS WBZ Boston News: Organization looks to reduce wait times for autism evaluations with virtual visits https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/video/organization-looks-to-reduce-wait-times-for-autism-evaluations-with-virtual-visits/
WBZ: The average wait time for autism evaluations is more than two years nationwide. Some hospitals won’t accept new patients over the age of five.
This can be so frustrating for parents, but there is a new option for families waiting for those answers.
Joining us now, Kayla Wagner, CEO of As You Are. Thanks for being here. We appreciate it….
Tell us about this issue that many parents are facing….
Kayla: This is a nationwide crisis. Right now, families are waiting on average 27 months for an appointment to understand if their child has autism.
It’s really pretty terrible.
We created a completely virtual solution so that we can see families in their home. They can meet with a physician and get answers.
WBZ: What is the solution to this?...
Kayla: Well, families can go to our website, AsYouAre.com and schedule an appointment, if they’re concerned.
We want any family who has questions about their child, or who has suspicions about their child maybe having autism to meet with a physician and get a diagnosis.
We don’t just provide autism diagnoses. We’ll provide the diagnosis that’s most appropriate.
WBZ: Why is this such a problem? Why is it 27 months to see a clinician? You should be able to notice some symptoms in your child, be able to get answers reasonably quickly as you can with other conditions. So why is it so long for autism?
Kayla: The pandemic really caused these wait times.
It used to be a couple of months, but once the pandemic struck, clinics couldn’t see children in person. The typical paradigm is to conduct an evaluation in person. So the wait times grew longer and longer.
So we knew we had to do something immediately to solve this crisis, and that’s why we started AsYouAre.
WBZ: Do you think that the more we learn about autism, and the more we become educated about it, more people are bringing their kids in and sort of recognizing it.
Is that also part of the problem as well?
Kayla (nodding): Awareness is definitely part of it, and it’s important.
I think every child is awesome, and I think all children unique strengths and challenges. It’s really important that we identify those challenges and get them started in intervention services that can really change the trajectory of their life.
It can free a child’s ability to speak, to develop vocabulary.
A child’s brain is always growing when they’re young, right? So we have to get them started in the support services that help them.
WBZ: And you can’t get those services unless you’ve got the diagnosis, at least if you want insurance to cover it.
AsYouAre just hit a major milestone. Tell us a little bit about that.
Kayla: We’re now nationwide. Any family in every corner of the United States can now get access to this type of care.
Every child deserves to never have to wait to see a doctor, and we did that.
WBZ: What can you tell us about the virtual visit? What can we expect if we take part in that?
Kayla: It's really quite comfortable, both for the child and for parents. It alleviates all the stress of having to go to a doctor, of having to leave the home even.
Children are very comfortable in their own home, so they act typical. They show their typical behaviors.
So our doctors will watch, observe the child, interview the parent to understand what their concerns are, the behaviors that they're seeing, and then they'll provide the diagnosis that's most appropriate.
WBZ: How do people sign up for this or get involved?
Kayla: AsYouAre.com They can schedule an appointment in just a matter of weeks.
WBZ: I love that there's such a need. You guys have found a way to meet that need, find solutions, as opposed to just the same old way of doing things.
Finding a new way to do, and with the Internet and all these things that makes it possible.
Such a great idea.
Kayla: Thank you.