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Autism and Applied Behavioral Analysis

Find information about Autism and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for clients with Autism Spectrum and related disorders.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

There are many different types of treatments available for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Treatment for autism and related disorders typically fall in one of four categories:

  • Behavior and communication approaches
  • Dietary approaches
  • Medication
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA ) is a behavior treatment approach that historically has received the most attention and is covered by Apple Health for clients who qualify.

Other services available instead of or in addition to ABA include speech and language services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sensory integration. Additional information about these other therapies will be found under habilitative and rehabilitative services. 

ABA is an approach to improve behavior and skills related to core impairments associated with autism and a number of other developmental disabilities. ABA therapy involves application of validated principals of human behavior to change inappropriate behaviors. Providers use scientific methods to demonstrate that behavioral improvements are caused by the prescribed treatment. ABA therapy also focuses on social significance, which promotes a family-centered, whole-life approach.

If you’re covered by a managed care organization (MCO) such as:


Phone number(s)


1-855-323-4688, extension 1061035173

Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW)


Coordinated Care of WA


Coordinated Care of Washington (Apple Core Connections/Foster Care) 1-844-354-9876

Molina Healthcare

1-800-869-7175, extension 147183

UnitedHealthcare (UHC)


Please contact the plan directly for program benefits. Ask for the ABA case manager. They will assist you in scheduling a Centers of Excellence (COE) appointment and identify ABA providers enrolled with your plan.

Eligibility and accessing services

In order to be eligible for the ABA benefit, the client must first be evaluated by an Apple Health approved COE provider, and receive a prescription for Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. For a list of Apple Health contracted providers please see Centers of Excellence.  

If it is determined by a COE provider that a client may benefit from ABA therapy, they will provide the client, caregiver, or family with a copy of their evaluation and order to take to an ABA provider. The client, caregiver, or family are encouraged to contact all Medicaid-enrolled ABA providers in their area. In most cases, providers have waiting lists for services. We recommend placing the client on multiple waiting lists and calling the providers on a regular basis. This will help ensure the client gets the first available appointment.