Looking for an ADHD Summer Camp or School? Call Toll Free 866.828.1678

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 0 Comments

Experts Want Insurance Companies to Pay for Early Treatment for Autism

One of the foremost experts on autism is urging parents to have their babies screened for the disorder as early as possible, and to start treatment in children as young as 14 months.

Autism can be detected before age two, yet the average age of diagnosis is four and a half, according to Dr. Patricia Wright, a specialist at the Hawaii Department of Child and Adolescent Health.

Dr. Wright says that early intervention may be the best hope for autistic children, who now number almost one in 150. Such treatment costs as much as $50,000 a year, because it involves about 25 hours a week of one-on-one or one-on-two teaching. However, Dr. Wright says such intervention offers autistic children the best chance of growing up to become productive adults. Insurance coverage is cost-effective, she says, because "they learn independent skills so they don't need continued lifelong support."

Dr. Wright and other experts are asking government agencies and insurance companies to pay for treatment in young children, though outcome-based evidence is scant at this time. However, researchers at the University of Washington are currently studying whether early intervention can prevent the disorder in siblings of children with autism. Their results may determine the fate of early intervention programs.

Looking for a summer program for your autistic child? Located in upstate New York, Camp Huntington offers summer programs for children with special needs, including autism and Asperger's.

Labels: autism, treatment, insurance

Posted By: Aspen Education Group 0 Comments