New IACC member John Elder Robsion writes about an issue he brought up at yesterday's meeting: in many cases ABA is the only therapy that insurance companies will pay for, but it may not be the best option for every child:
I’ve written about new therapies on this blog, and indeed many show great promise. Their effectiveness has been shown in many studies, yet they are not widely available, and rarely covered by insurance. Why? Because there is no way for an insurer to know that the intervention being delivered in North Dakota is the one designed and vetted at UCLA (for example).University research centers develop these therapies and even do training to propagate them in the field. Important as those efforts are, they cannot roll out a new intervention on a national scale to augment ABA. It’s just not realistic for any single group to undertake that except over a period of decades, which we do not have.So what do we do about this?
I think we need Federal action that mandates insurance coverage for a much wider array of behavioral intervention. Valuable as ABA is, is it not a path that works for every kid, and frankly, it is “old news.” We need to get our insurers covering the deployment of new therapies that will help a broader range of kids.
How Insurance Works
Valentine's Day tends to be stressful and awful for many people, the autistic no less so than others. So, to make you laugh and to cheer you up with the promise of good things ahead, I bring you comics.
OWL has several good new strips up, including the one above, which isn't exactly cheerful-- more achingly accurate. Also, the line has emerged as a character, one with which I have come to identify. OWL's creator has done an interview with me, which you will be able to read on thAutcast soon, but I wanted to offer one excerpt as inspiration.
He says that he had never done comic strips before starting OWL in response to the fact that both he and his son were diagnosed with different types of autism: "I am an awful artist, but it's the only way to get these things across to people. Somehow it works, and it makes me laugh at myself. I would suggest trying it."
His answer when asked where he got the idea?
Speaking of the Dude, Fuzzy shows us this week that he is an excellent, if asynchronous, social chameleon. Also, Matt, who does the strip, has promised to be part of my new Faces From the Spectrum feature, so look forward to seeing that here soon, as well.
The West Virginia House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill requiring insurance coverage for autism:
Mike McCoy, 20, at a press conference in Charleston, West Virginia
Bob Wojcieszak took the picture above (and several others worth looking at) at a press conference in support of a bill making progress through the West Virginia legislature:
An autism insurance bill cleared another hurdle Tuesday when the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee endorsed legislation that would mandate coverage by private group insurance plans and the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
A similar House bill requires coverage for autism spectrum disorders. It limits therapy coverage to $30,000 annually for children ages 3 through 6, and to $1,000 per month for ages 7 to 18. Supporters of extending coverage favor the Senate bill's approach. The House will consider amendments to their version of the bill today with a final vote scheduled for Friday.