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May 02, 2022

Bestmed now covers autism as a non-CDL chronic condition on its Pace2, Pace3 and Pace4 options. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socialises with others, causing problems with social interaction and communication.

Read the signs

While a professional evaluation is critical in diagnosing autism, it is really important for a parent or caregiver to look out for the early signs. Developmentally, small things like few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions, very few or no words and avoidance of eye contact, are some of the few things to look out for when you suspect that a child may have autism.

According to healthychildren.org, “many children with ASD show developmental differences when they are babies, especially in their social and language skills.”

Here are some of the things you should look out for at the different developmental stages, listed by healthychildren.org:

At 12 months:

  • a child with typical development will turn their head when they hear their name.
  • a child with ASD might not turn to look, even after their name is repeated several times, but will respond to other sounds.

At 18 months:

  • a child with delayed speech skills will point, gesture, or use facial expressions to make up for their lack of talking.
  • a child with ASD might make no attempt to compensate for delayed speech or might limit speech to repeating what they just heard.

At 24 months:

  • a child with typical development brings a picture to show their mother and shares their joy from it with her.
  • a child with ASD might bring their mother a bottle of bubbles to open, but they do not look at her face when they do so, nor do they share in the pleasure of playing together.

If you are worried that your child is displaying any or a combination of these developmental difficulties, you should take the necessary step to get a professional diagnosis. Bestmed covers autism as a non-CDL chronic condition on the Pace2, Pace3 and Pace4 options. If you are a member in any of the listed plans you can apply for the autism benefit.

In order to apply, Bestmed will require a prescription from a paediatrician, paediatric neurologist or child psychiatrist. Medicine authorisations will be subject to a medicine formulary.

Sources:

healthychildren.org https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Autism/Pages/Early-Signs-of-Autism-Spectrum-Disorders.aspx 

Autism Speaks https://www.autismspeaks.org/signs-autism

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928

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