Wednesday, March 31, 2010
“Autism trends, treatments and therapies routinely make headlines. Often overlooked, though, is the financial burden for many families with autistic children.
Treatment is extremely expensive. Direct medical and nonmedical costs can add up to as much as $72,000 a year for someone with an extreme case of the disorder, and even $67,000 a year for those on the lower end of the spectrum, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health.” Read the entire article
While the article talks a lot about the high cost of the various therapies used to treat autism, it also briefly mentions a study by the Harvard School of Public Health that looks at the cost of not providing early intervention for a child with autism. The study estimated that it cost $3.2 million to care for a person with autism throughout their lifetime. The early intervention that many people are fighting for, like ABA, could dramatically reduce or even eliminate this cost by allowing the child to catch up with their peers at an early age and begin learning in a regular environment as soon as the 1st grade. While many people argue about the cost of mandated treatment for these children, I think this is a critical point to make sure is understood. An investment now will be only a fraction of what costs down the road could be. Not to mention it will drastically change the child’s entire life.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Nominee to Disability Council Is Lightning Rod for Dispute on Views of Autism"When President Obama nominated Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability, many families touched by autism took it as a positive sign. Mr. Ne’eman would be the first person with the disorder to serve on the council.
But he has since become the focus of criticism from other advocates who disagree with his view that society ought to concentrate on accepting autistic people, not curing them.
A hold has been placed on Mr. Ne’eman’s nomination, which requires Senate confirmation. Whether the hold is related to the criticism of Mr. Ne’eman and what it might take to lift it is unclear." Continue reading
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri senators voted yesterday to require some health insurance plans to cover treatment for autism.
The legislation, approved by a 26-6 vote, would require group insurance policies regulated by the state to provide as much as $55,000 annually for behavioral treatment until age 21.
The “applied behavioral analysis” is an intensive and costly therapy some parents say produces dramatic improvements in their autistic children.
Similar legislation was approved by the House in February and would require coverage of as much as $36,000 annually until age 18. The Senate version of the bill now goes to the House."
The bill referred to is SB 618 sponsored by Senators Rupp and Schmidt. The House and the Senate, each having now passed a bill, will have to decide which one to back. They can then make compromises and changes to hopefully satisfy both sides while not jeopardizing the strength of the bill.
Read a comparable story in March 18th's Missourian.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Read the Speaker of House's press release on his decision to create the interim committee.
The committee heard testimony from families, medical specialists and insurance companies on subjects such as the epidemiology of autism, the cost of a mandate, the cost of lack of treatment, ABA, and educational vs. medical treatment. Read the committee's report here.
ABA is a hands on approach to develop an enhanced environment that a child with autism can connect with. The goal is to teach prerequisites that will make it possible for the children to learn on their own in the future. Obviously, the sooner this intervention can occur, the sooner a child with autism may be able to learn on their own and potentially join their peers in the traditional classroom without assistance. Of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder that receive early intervention, 50% are able to perform in a regular classroom without a para-educator by the 1st grade.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
While it is critical that autism be correctly diagnosed as early as possible (ideally by age 2), the average age of diagnosis is 53 months. Late diagnosis and inadequate treatment are likely reasons that the Harvard School of Public Health estimates a $35 billion price tag on caring for those with autism. The cost is more than monetary, with the disorder drastically changing the quality of life of a child and adult with autism.
Reports like this are helping awareness of the problem to be growing rapidly, efforts have stepped up in research, legislation, and support for these children.