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Utah May Require Insurance to Pay for Autism Treatments

A Utah woman whose son recovered from autism is working to change laws in her state so that all autistic preschoolers can receive similar treatments. Leeann Whiffen's son, Clay, underwent two years of "applied behavior therapy" as a toddler, costing her about $30,000 a year. Mrs. Whiffen mortgaged her home and used credit cards to pay for it.

William Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, supports the measure. He said that studies show that 30% to 40% of higher functioning autistic children who receive at least two years of such therapy are "indistinguishable from normal children ten years down the line."

"They are probably still autistic, but they've made such dramatic gain that you cannot distinguish them from other kids," he said. He acknowledged that it is impossible to predict which children will benefit from early childhood treatments.

State Senator Howard Stephenson will sponsor the bill requiring insurance companies to pay for the therapy with a cap of $30,000 per year. The bill is called "Clay's Law."

Labels: autism, treatment, insurance

Posted By: Aspen Education Group