Living Your Potential, Fighting For Your Dreams: An Autism Perspective

“Michael is bright. He’s smart. He’s funny. He can do really, really well. He can do wonderful things, and I want to just give him that opportunity. I want him to have a normal life.” —Michael’s mother, describing her hopes for the future of her son with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

As depicted in the Beacon Health Options documentary Recovering Lives, Michael is 13 years old and lives with his mother Cheryl. He has been diagnosed with a variety of mental health disorders, including autism. When his behavior becomes violent, Cheryl pays the price. After one particularly frightening incident, an arrest warrant is issued for Michael, and Cheryl finds herself struggling to keep her son safely at home with her. Watch their story below:

Recovering Lives shares the stories of three Medicaid members in Connecticut related to autism, childhood trauma, and addiction. The Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (CT BHP), Beacon’s contract in the state, supports over 800,000 individuals and families in the Medicaid program.

About CT BHP’s ASD services

CT BHP began managing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries in January 2015, following the state’s mandate for this insurance coverage. The goal of the autism spectrum disorder State Plan is to connect HUSKY A, C, and D members under age 21 living with ASD to appropriate services and supports within their communities. A unique feature of the program is the support of Beacon’s Peer Specialists, all of whom have lived experience with ASD, and Care Coordinators. They offer the necessary tools and services to ensure families are connected to effective resources in their communities by:

  • Helping members and their families understand what benefits are available to them through their Medicaid coverage
  • Assessing the needs of the member and their family
  • Helping families navigate the health care system
  • Coordinating nontraditional services
  • Creating and updating a local area resource database

Our staff support extends to the provider community as well. Beacon offers simple, straightforward enrollment and service authorization processes. In addition, we offer monthly provider learning collaboratives addressing the care of individuals with ASD in a home setting. Among other things, these free sessions help providers empower parents/caregivers by teaching them specific skills to prevent maladaptive behaviors and to increase skills across a range of functional domains.

About Recovering Lives 

Recovering Lives was produced by Beacon to illustrate its core competencies in supporting individuals’ recoveries. As demonstrated in these real-life vignettes, the work is person-centered, strength-based, and relationship focused.

Special thanks to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Connecticut Department of Social Services, and the nearly 6,000 behavioral health providers supporting Connecticut’s Medicaid population.