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Hidden Gems: Meet Kayla Wagner of As You Are

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Wagner.

Hi Kayla, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I’ve dedicated my career to creating healthcare solutions that increase early identification of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders and access to high-quality care for all children, regardless of available resources or socioeconomic status.

During the pandemic, I saw a huge need to reimagine the autism diagnostic paradigm in the United States. Families wait over a year for an appointment to see a specialist for a diagnostic evaluation, and in some parts of the US, two or more years. Due to long wait times, children receive an autism diagnosis on average at 4 years old, when it is possible to provide a diagnosis to a child as young as 16 months. These delays cause long-term challenges. If a child’s clinical diagnosis is delayed, the child cannot start receiving important intervention services that lead to improved functional outcomes and help the child thrive. I started As You Are, a virtual clinic for autism diagnostic evaluations for kids. As You Are is breaking geographic barriers for families sitting on long waitlists, helping diagnose more children early in development. We’re in nine states now, including Texas, and we plan to expand nationwide by the end of 2023.

Parents can visit to schedule an evaluation with one of our physicians. They’ll be prompted to complete online paperwork like at a traditional doctor’s office. Our support team will conduct a benefits investigation before their first telehealth appointment. Our goal is to ensure parents and children feel cared for throughout the process. I’m proud of the experience we built for parents, and we’re hearing such positive feedback.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We are disrupting the autism diagnostic paradigm to provide timely care to all children who need it, which is no easy task. It started as a seed of an idea in early 2022, and now it’s amazing to see how much it’s grown and how well we have scaled to 9 states since August. No child should ever wait for a diagnosis that has timely intervention needs. This is why our team worked so quickly to make As You Are a reality. Everyone put their heads together to solve this problem and created a virtual clinic from scratch in a matter of months. We are doing something so different from anything else and on a much bigger scale. We are hearing stories from parents who had their children on waitlists for as long as 3 years, but after finding As You Are, we could get an appointment and answers promptly. Because part of our mission is to break geographic barriers for all children who need an autism evaluation, we have to make As You Are appointments available in every corner of America. We plan to expand nationwide by the end of 2023, which means significantly growing our team of physicians and care coordinators, whom we refer to as Care Sidekicks. Care Sidekicks are there for families to connect with at any point along their care journey with questions and to receive support. They are important because once the evaluation is complete, they connect patients with therapy options and other services within their community. They bridge the gap between diagnosis and community resources and ensure that families are always supported locally. To provide high-quality care, we believe that when we scale and hire new members of the As You Are team, we must employ those who are not only qualified on paper but also deeply dedicated to our mission. Our goal is for our entire As You Are team, as we scale, to share in the vision of helping families everywhere.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As You Are provides diagnostic services for children aged 16 months to 10 years when there is a question of autism, all through telehealth appointments. The patient experience with As You Are feels like an evaluation a family would receive in a doctor’s office by using an evidence-based approach, but everything happens through video calls. This makes appointments with a trained physician more readily available to families. The care doesn’t end at a diagnosis. These families also receive support from our Care Sidekicks for as long as they need them to be a part of their journey. They can help families get connected to therapies in their area.

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Don’t see your health insurance provider listed? Don’t get discouraged! We work with commercial insurance plans, TRICARE, traditional state Medicaid plans and managed care partners. We are constantly expanding our relationships as we grow. And, as a part of our process, our support team will review a child’s insurance benefits with their parent or guardian before the first appointment. To get started families can submit this form or contact our support team at 866.219.8595Participation may vary by state and each child’s health insurance benefits.

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