Archive for May, 2009

Autism Treatment Acceleration Act

May 15, 2009

Just a quick post to let you know that there’s an important bill that has been introduced in the US Congress. It’s called the “Autism Treatment Acceleration Act” and if passed it could greatly help the lives of those with autism and their families. There are many different facets to the bill and I won’t get into all of them here, but one in particular jumped out at me…

“…a requirement that health insurers cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, including Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, assistive communication devices and other effective treatments.”

In Minnesota a bill was just defeated that would have required all insurance carriers to cover ABA. That really stinks because there are so many families that desperately want to get their kids started with this type of therapy but can’t afford it. I’m fortunate that I have the one kind of insurance in our state that does cover it, but it’s never a guarantee that my insurance won’t change in the future and I’d be out of luck.

You can read more about the bill here. There are a couple of different websites that I’ve seen that allow you to send an e-mail to your US Rep to encourage them to support this bill. I used this one. Again, this is a national bill, not just Minnesota, so no matter what state you’re in while reading this, you can contact your US Congressman or woman. Who knows how closely our Congressmen and women pay attention to these e-mails, but it only takes a second and if they get enough maybe they’ll realize how important it is to support our precious kids with autism.

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Surprised by the response

May 11, 2009

surprised_title

Guess it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted something new here. I always intend to start a new post, but by the time I have time to do it, I’m usually taking sleep over writing a blog entry.

My last posts had to do with the documentary I produced about our family called “Surprised by Autism.” The response to this show has really been overwhelming. It was always my intent with this show to reach out to those who want to know more about autism and to give those dealing with it some hope.

I’ve received numerous phone calls and e-mails from people who have been inspired by this show. It definitely makes you realize how many people are impacted by autism in their lives. The show has been airing for almost 2 months on the channel I work for and it’s also been picked up by access stations across the country from California to New York. Even though a lot of the resources I mention in “Surprised” are Minnesota-based, the information really does apply to anyone dealing with autism anywhere.

Besides other cable tv stations, I’ve also been trying my hardest to get the program into libraries. I know we’re always checking our local libraries to see if there’s anything new on autism, so I would imagine there will be some interest in people who also scour their libraries for autism information. So far libraries mainly in the Midwest are picking it up.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think the cool thing about “Surprised by Autism” is that I don’t profit off it monetarily one cent. There are some other great autism videos out there, but I don’t know of too many that you can watch in their entirety for free online. Plus, the other tv stations, libraries, and autism groups that I’ve given copies to haven’t been charged anything. I understand why other people have to charge for their autism videos as they were likely produced by large production houses that need to recoup their investment. But most families dealing with autism are already strapped financially with therapies, diets, etc., so the last thing they can afford is to spend over $20 on a dvd.

I also think “Surprised” is unique in that I don’t pretend to have all the answers. We haven’t ‘recovered’ our child yet and I don’t act like everything we say should be taken as gospel. But I just hope to drive the point home that there is hope out there and maybe someone will watch this and learn about a therapy or diet that they weren’t aware of.

My wife & I have launched a special “Surprised by Autism” website where you can watch the video for free, find out more about us, leave comments for us, etc. If you know of a place that should have a copy (a library, an autism group, etc.) just let me know!

Hopefully I’ll get back to blogging about something other than “Surprised” pretty soon. I think this project has just been my focus for so long that I’ve kind of put other things on the back burner.