Alright – so, finally Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) gets a backbone and stands up for children with autism and their families. DHS issued a corrective action against Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) few weeks ago for how they discharge and abuse children with autism and their families.
From what I understand this is first such action from DHS. For years and even over a decade, MAC has discharged children for any reason and for everything under the sun. MAC’s director Ms. Marshall who is an attorney by training would just call families and tell them “come pick up your child, MAC is discharging him”, or send a letter to a family telling them to not bother bringing their child for therapy again, or just send a text or email to a family and tell them their child’s services are done. I kid you not, Ms. Marshall who is not trained in autism therapy would just either just do these things or dictate one of her spineless mental health professionals to do it.
Meanwhile, children would suffer because their medically necessary treatments ended abruptly and parents would be in despair and frustrated. Sadly, when parents contacted DHS to do something nothing was ever done. DHS told many families there was nothing they could do. The problem with that statement was everything. DHS funds, certifies and audits MAC and should’ve have done something years ago. But as they say late is better than never.
Finally, DHS stood up to MAC and told them how they discharged children from their medically necessary treatments was wrong. They were not in complaint with state statute under CTSS of child centered, family friendly and culturally responsive. Furthermore, MAC even violated some of their own policy. This of course was Mozart music to my ears as the Elizabeth Tylor of ABA, I am sick and tired of being bullied, harassed and intimated by Minn ABA providers. It is time to stand up for kids with autism and their families.
MAC is now required to submit the children they discharge and their reason including parental involvement. In other words, Ms. Marshall can no longer just call a parent and bully them or discharge their child because she felt like it. Oh, and if a parent wants to see their child in one of their centers, they can do that whereas before parents had to make an appointment to see their children in therapy. Imagine that, what the heck is MAC hiding that parents can’t see their own kids in therapy in a publicly funded program – Medicaid.
If you are a parent whose child was discharged by MAC and you either disagree or had no idea, please contact DHS autism team and let them know.
Above words do not represent any candidate, agency or committee.
Idil – Autism Mom & Minority Advocate