Matthews Center to Work with More Families with Medicaid

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A center in Harrisonburg has recently become licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Workers said it means they can help more people in surrounding areas because those people can apply for medicaid.

Right now, the Matthews Center is working with anywhere from 10 to 14 students.

Specialists use applied behaviorial analysis, which finds what motivates kids.

For instance, kids do the threapy while playing or doing a specific activity.

Now, they are looking to increase case loads.

Andrea Zampiea, who is the coordinator at the Matthews Center, said they serve Harrisonburg City Schools and people in Shenandoah county and help transition kids into Pre-K all the way up to elementary school.

For behaviorial therapy, Zampiea said it's better to work with them in their home.

One parent, Marybeth Clarke, whose daughter has autism, said that for her daughter Elle, said the therapy has been life altering.

One family support coordinator says localities don't provide as much funds as they used to, so the option of medicaid can help families.

"Because there are a lot of kids out there that do have the medicaid funding that aren't able to get the services," said Crystal Robinson, Family Support Coordinator.

"Children learn best, especially when they're pre-k age when they are playing so if we can embed communication and social skills in play that's the best way to reach them," said Andrea Zampiea, Coordinator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Before you can get that funding, they come out and assess the person with autism as well as the family.

Right now they are working with two families and are working toward a third.

You have to submit to medicaid to apply and then you know in about six to eight weeks.


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