On the Horizon – 05/23/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 186: Treating Feeding Difficulties in the School Environment

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

To keep receiving On the Horizon, please add the email address “nicolebeurkens@horizonsdrc.com” to your safe address list.

  • A Note from Nicole: Shooting Hoops
  • Feature Article:
    Treating Feeding Difficulties in the School Environment
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I just came inside from a serious game of basketball with my kids. We bought a basketball hoop this past weekend, and my husband spent more time than he bargained for getting it all set up. It was great to get outside to shoot some hoops, especially since the hoop is adjustable – making it more fun for even our smaller family members! My kids inform me that I’ve got some major practicing to do in order to truly compete with them. I’ll add it to my to-do list for the summer along with a handful of other things…

This week’s feature article by Erin discusses basic principles for addressing feeding challenges in the school environment. While feeding disorders generally require clinical treatment, school teams can assist with these needs as well. I know you’ll get some great ideas on how to support children with feeding challenges.

Summer is right around the corner and our Therapy Camps program is filling quickly. We have mostly afternoon spots available at this point, as the morning slots are almost all taken for the entire summer. If you’ve been meaning to get your child on the schedule don’t delay – check out the details here and contact us today!

Enjoy your week!

Looking to the horizon,


Treating Feeding Difficulties in the School Environment

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP, Certified Nutrition Consultant

There are many children within the school environment that have feeding difficulties. For these children, the task of eating lunch and snack at school is a daunting one. However, lunch and snack time can present the perfect opportunity for addressing feeding difficulties if given the necessary attention and intervention.

A team collaboration framework is necessary for the design and implementation of a successful feeding therapy program within the schools, with many people and steps involved. Working on feeding issues is often a necessary component of treatment for autism and related disorders.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I have heard that autism insurance legislation was passed in Michigan and I’m wondering what this will mean for our family. My son was given the label of autism spectrum disorder in school, and I’m hoping this new law will pay for some services outside of school. Do you know how this new law works?

-Rita in Grand Rapids, MI


Hi Rita,

I’ll be happy to answer your question, as it’s one that is coming up a lot these days since the new Michigan law passed last month. The law was a small step in the right direction in that is does not allow insurance companies in Michigan to blatantly discriminate against a client with an autism diagnosis. While I’d love to say that all Michigan families who have a child with autism are going to get quality services with insurance footing the bill, I’m afraid that won’t be the case for many families. Here are some things you need to know about the new law:

  • It only pertains to Michigan-based insurance plans. If your company has insurance through a company in another state the Michigan law doesn’t apply.
  • It does not apply to self-funded plans (and the majority of large companies have self-funded plans) or other plans governed by federal law, including Medicaid.
  • It applies to individuals 18-years and younger.
  • It requires a clinical diagnosis of autism, which means your child must have an evaluation and diagnosis from a physician or licensed psychologist. School-based eligibility does not equate to a clinical diagnosis. It is possible insurance companies will require specific assessments, such as the ADOS, to prove your child has an autism diagnosis.
  • The law won’t go into effect until October – 180 days after it was signed. Insurance companies have until then to determine how they will implement the new requirements.
  • All the applicable deductibles, co-pays, in-network and out-of-network provider requirements, and other “rules” for your insurance plan will still apply. For example, if your plan does not include mental health coverage then you will not get mental health services covered for your child with autism even under this new law.
  • You will need a prescription for services from a physician or licensed psychologist to access services. Services can include diagnostic services, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavior therapies, counseling, and prescriptions (among others).

There are other provisions in the law, but the list above covers the main ones to get you started with understanding whether this law will provide any benefits for your family. I have spoken to many families who had high hopes that this law would help them, only to be disappointed that they will get nothing more than what they are currently receiving via their insurance company. I recommend that you contact your insurance company right away to talk with them about how this new law may benefit you. As always when dealing with insurance companies, make sure you get the names of the people you speak with and document your conversations. If you are a family who can benefit, now is the time to start gathering information about what documentation you will need and how you can access services once the law takes effect in October.

Good luck!


Follow Us:

Upcoming Events


Looking for an opportunity designed for SIBLINGS of children with autism or other developmental disorders?

Siblings of children with autism or other disabilities have their own unique needs and experiences, and we use the renowned Sibshop model designed to provide them with support, education, and fun.

July 14th – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost is $20 per child – Sibshop is held at Horizons in our sensory room. We will do a combination of movement and discussion activities, arts and crafts, and games. Participants need to bring a lunch. Snack will be provided.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY by clicking here, emailing our office info@horizonsdrc.com, or by calling us at (616) 698-0306.


Horizons Client Events


June 23rd – 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Horizons. Join us for a day of learning and sharing together. RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY at info@horizonsdrc.com or (616) 698-0306. We look forward to seeing you! Exclusively for our Horizons Developmental Resource Center Client Families.


Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference 2012

May 23-27, 2012

Chicago, Illinois

MAGIC Foundation Annual Convention

July 19-22, 2012

Chicago, Illinois

American Psychological Association Annual Convention

August 2-5, 2012

Orlando, Florida

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

September 26, 2012 in Missoula, Montana

September 27, 2012 in Butte, Montana

September 28, 2012 in Billings, Montana

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey



Explorations in Eating

The Explorations in Eating CD provides you with the valuable information you need to understand the underlying causes of feeding problems, and how to better handle them.

More Information >>