Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers!

Scroll through the list to see the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

If you don’t see what you need to know listed here, drop us a line with the suggestion!

Diagnostics

What are the signs of autism?

  • No babbling or pointing by 12 months
  • No single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by 24 months
  • No response to name
  • Loss of language or social skills
  • Poor eye contact
  • No smiling
  • Impaired ability to make friends
  • Absence or impairment of imaginative or social play
  • Stereotyped, repetitive or unusual use of language

Behaviors suggesting your child may struggle with autism most often occur between ages 2 and 6. None of the aforementioned behaviors represents an immediate indication of autism. But if you’ve observed any of them, you should consider a comprehensive evaluation from a clinical psychologist.

Diet & Nutrition

Does diet really make a difference?

If your child has a food intolerance there can be adverse reactions that come about in the form of behavior when that food is eaten. While diet does not work for every child, to those where it plays a part you may see dramatic changes in behavior because you have removed the offending item.

What is the gluten-free, casein-free diet?

To be gluten-free and casein free means to avoid eating things that contain those proteins. Gluten is found in items that contain wheat, oats, barley and rye, while casein is a protein found in milk and dairy products. Many families have noticed dramatic improvement in their children when they remove these things from their diet.

What kind of doctor can help me navigate all this?

A physician affiliated with MAPS, or Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs, would be familiar with autism and the special treatments available for this population.

Insurance

Are there any out-of-pocket costs?

This will largely be determined by your particular insurance coverage. Since your policy is a contract between you and your insurance company, you are responsible for any annual deductible, co-pays or co-insurance that your policy dictates. Cornerstone will work with you to determine what those costs are and develop a payment plan that works for you and your family.

How do I find out if my insurance covers ABA?

It’s as simple as calling the center and giving us your insurance information. Our experts will make the necessary inquiries with your carrier to determine the type of policy and whether benefits are extended under the Indiana Autism Mandate. In addition to basic eligibility, we will determine your deductible, and other out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays or co-insurance so you will have a full understanding of your policy benefits.

What is the autism mandate?

According to Autism Speaks, “the insurance mandate requires insurance providers to cover treatment that is prescribed by a treating physician to an individual diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder.” Learn more at this link.

What types of insurance do you accept?

We are in-network with many insurance plans such as:

  • Anthem
  • United Healthcare
  • Advantage
  • IU Health
  • Medicaid
  • MDWise
  • and many others

Parents and Caregivers

Can we observe therapy?

Although Cornerstone wants parents to be fully comfortable with our treatment model for their children, we must balance that with our need to conduct treatment in a structured, productive manner. While we respect and embrace those who love, onsite observation of therapy within view of children can present a challenge to our therapists’ methods and, in some cases, impede progress. Because of Cornerstone’s closed-circuit camera system, all daily activities of our treatment program are recorded and can be viewed by parents upon request.

Do you accommodate special diets?

Not only do we accommodate them, we encourage them. We strongly believe that a healthy diet translates into happier, healthier children that are able to fully reap the benefits of the intensive therapy.

Do you offer training for parents?

Absolutely! Because parents and caregivers play such an important role in carrying Cornerstone’s treatment plan through to the family home and daily life, they need to be engaged in our process. Cornerstone provides tools of science, direction and training in behavior-therapy functions and correct methods to develop routines and reinforcements outside of our daily program. Our Training Coordinator offers various seminars and workshops every month that are free of charge to all our parents.

Do you work on potty-training?

You betcha! This is an important milestone for any child, and our children are no exception. We have a very successful method for achieving success in this area.

How are we told about progress?

You will receive monthly progress reports in addition to the daily communication from your child’s therapy team. You will also have the opportunity to meet with your child’s team every quarter at a minimum.

How do I communicate with my child’s therapist?

Because your child may struggle to verbalize their day, a communication notebook travels between Cornerstone and home. The notebook also shares valuable information with our therapists about your child’s behavior at home and provides insight for future treatment modification. Monthly, quarterly and semi-annual progress reports inform you of your child’s development. These provide the foundation to regularly review and revise your child’s treatment plan to maximize results. Parents and caregivers can also request a meeting with a BCBA or a senior clinician to discuss their child’s progress whenever necessary.

What does your Parent Liaison do?

Our Parent Liaison is a resource for you—to guide you through your journey and answer any questions you may have. She is a parent of a child with autism herself so she has a vast array of knowledge on the topic.

What if we are having challenges at home?

Your child’s clinical lead will discuss those challenges with you and determine if a home visit is appropriate to address those issues.

Program Information

Are you open year-round?

Yes. We observe the major holidays every year, and also closed for Christmas week, but other than that we are open for therapy

Do I need to provide anything for my child?

Cornerstone provides all therapy materials and the center is stocked with a wide variety of toys, puzzles and games. You are encouraged to personalize your child’s space with posters or photos, and comfort items from home such as a bean bag chair, favorite books, toys or sensory items. Each child should bring a packed lunch each day, and appropriate snacks as desired. If your child is not potty-trained, please bring a supply of diapers or pull-ups. All children, regardless of age, should have a change of seasonally appropriate clothes on hand.

What are your center hours?

We are open for therapy, Monday through Friday, 8:30-3:30.

What is your client to staff ratio?

One-to-one — every day for every child. Cornerstone believes in the benefit of one-on-one bonding between a caring therapist and an encouraged child. We apply a tried and true scientific method of identifying your child’s individual motivations and using those through barriers to progress. We further tailor that intensive treatment to your child’s unique needs, abilities and preferences. If your child grows distracted, tired or agitated along the way, our therapists adjust quickly to ensure engagement remains.

What will my child’s day look like?

That will largely depend on the child, but for the most part they will spend their day split between three therapists who will deliver 1:1 ABA therapy. Integrated in their day will be opportunities to work on social skills, self-help skills, group instruction, art, gross-motor activities, and of course lunch!

Services

Do you offer speech therapy?

Your child may receive a speech and language evaluation within the first couple months at the center. Based on the evaluation, speech therapy may be recommended in addition to ABA therapy.

How do you address social skills?

There are numerous times throughout the day for children to work on social skills with the other children at the center. There are special group sessions each morning and afternoon when children are engaged in activities such as art projects, board games, circle time and sports activities to work on these skills that will help them be more successful in their interactions with other children.

How do you determine what my child will work on?

Each child is evaluated by our clinical staff using the VB-MAPP protocol. This tool helps guide program choices that will be implemented in your child’s therapy sessions.

How do you handle challenging behavior?

Our therapists are trained to deal with challenging behavior and work with the clinical leads to determine the function of the behavior. Based on that, a behavior plan is developed and implemented. Additionally, all staff members are trained in Professional Crisis Management techniques.

What is ABA?

How is VB different from ABA?

ABA is the science that uses principles of behavior like reinforcement, extinction, motivation, etc. to teach new behaviors, and change or reduce maladaptive behaviors.  Verbal Behavior or VB is simply the application of these scientific principles to language.  Many create an unnecessary and ill-informed distinction between ABA and VB.  A well-trained professional should make use of the principles of ABA in all areas of the child’s development to include language. In simple terms, Verbal Behavior is a comprehensive Applied Behavior Analytic approach to language.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. It is based on the premise that appropriate behavior – including speech, academics and life skills – can be taught using scientific principles. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change.

What is the VB-MAPP?

The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is a criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system that is designed for children with autism, and other individuals who demonstrate language delays.

Why is it important to be consistent?

Learning occurs through a history of reinforcement.  If a response receives reinforcement every time the behavior is exhibited, in all environments, by all people, it will have a much stronger history of reinforcement.  It will be learned much quicker and will be more resistant to being “unlearned”.  Consistency in the way something is taught is very important as well.  Imagine being taught three different ways to tie your shoes before you had mastered one way.  It could understandably be very confusing.

Why is reinforcement so important?

One of the basic principles of ABA is that when a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. It is important with children to identify those things they find reinforcing—from tickles and high-fives, to a tangible toy—then use that reinforcement as a motivator for learning. It is important to note, what works today may not work tomorrow. A skilled therapist continually identifies those things that motivate a child so that learning will continue.

Why Cornerstone?

How do you use technology to benefit my child?

Keycard security access gives you peace of mind that your child is safe. Cameras throughout our facilities give us the ability to capture those magical moments and continually observe and train our staff. We deploy iPads to our therapists and each child’s daily progress is captured as it happens.

How is your program different?

From the start, Cornerstone has employed highly qualified staff and used electronic data capture—two distinct differences from a lot of other ABA providers. Both ensure quality programming and propel children faster towards their goals.

What are the qualifications of your staff?

We’re very selective about who we hire at Cornerstone. Our incredible therapists all receive the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification and the Professional Crisis Management (PCM) certification. We have staff with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Regardless of their education or experience, all therapists that come to Cornerstone also go through our comprehensive training program that includes 40 hours of classwork and shadowing before they are ever placed with a child. Our therapists are supported by our Clinical Coordinators and BCBAs who have extensive training and experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.