Posts Tagged ‘minnesota’

Autism Healthcare Protection Act

May 12, 2010

Sorry for the lack of new posts lately. I intended to do several new posts throughout April, since it was National Autism Awareness Month, but as you can see I didn’t quite get that accomplished! Too busy living life I guess!

One thing I have been following with keen interest though this past month or two was the Autism Healthcare Protection Act, here in my home state of Minnesota. Around 20 or so states have been able to pass legislation that ends insurance discrimination against kids with autism. Minnesota has one of the highest rates of autism in the country, so it would seem to make sense to pass similar legislation here.

Thanks to the hard work of area autism advocates, the Autism Healthcare Protection Act gained approval in the Minnesota House, but last night all 6 members of the Minnesota Senate’s Health & Human Services Budget Division voted against it. So for now, there will be no end to insurance discrimination for our kids with autism this year in Minnesota. The Act is more or less dead for now.

You can read more about the Autism Healthcare Protection Act here. Interesting quote from this link, “this measure would have saved the state 3.6 million dollars by shifting the cost of therapy from Medical Assistance back to private insurance which should be paying for it anyway.” Who wouldn’t vote for this?

If you live in Minnesota, if might not be a bad idea to call the Senators that are listed in that article. Who knows…if enough people call, maybe they’ll change their minds?

I had the pleasure recently of interviewing Amy Dawson, a Minneapolis-area Attorney, who runs the Autism Advocacy & Law Center. In this interview, she explains more about insurance struggles families in Minnesota are facing.

And thanks to people like Amy Dawson…who use much of their time & talents to help families like mine. The battle might not be won yet, but with people like Amy on our side…we’re going to get there eventually.

Autism Walk video

September 25, 2008

In my last post I talked about the Walk Now For Autism/Minnesota event held last weekend. I covered the walk for a story at the tv station I work at and promised I would post it here when it was done. Well, it’s done and here it is….

Walk Now For Autism

September 21, 2008

Yesterday was my first experience with an Autism Speaks “Walk Now For Autism” event. Several months ago my wife, son, & I took part in our state autism society’s walk. I’ve heard so much about the Autism Speaks walks and was anxious to see one for myself.

This year due to extremely busy schedules for our family, we weren’t able to all go and participate. But I went as a reporter/videographer to shoot some footage and do some interviews for a story to air on the station I work at.

I was amazed at the turnout. There was an estimated 2,000 walkers there! The event was held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN and it was awe-inspiring to see all the walkers going around the track. It’s actually a one-mile track that is normally used for horse racing. I had the opportunity to go on the roof at the facility to shoot some footage and I couldn’t believe the hordes of people.

It was definitely one of the most personal shoots I’ve ever had to do for my job. There were so many times that I got choked up and felt like crying, but I had to keep my composure since I was there in a ‘professional’ capacity. I saw so many kids that reminded me of our little guy and so many parents that reminded me of my wife and I. It’s not often we get to be surrounded by so many people who are affected by autism.

I hope next year our little family will be out on that track walking. I’ll be posting my finished story on this year’s walk on this site in the coming weeks. I’m also working on a long-range project that will air on our station and will be posted to YouTube and this site that will tell the story of our family and our journey with autism. It will include interviews with my wife & I as well as our DAN doctor, therapists, etc. God willing, I’ll have that one done before the end of 2008! The ‘Walk Now For Autism’ story should be done within a week or two.

If you ever have the chance to participate in one of these walks, I highly recommend it. You’ll feel such energy from those around you and it will give you some much needed power for the days and challenges ahead. Plus with all the money raised, perhaps we’ll make even more strides.

A Bloody Good Day

September 8, 2008

For some reason my blog entries seem to deal almost exclusively with the collecting of urine, blood, or poop. I guess everytime we have to get a sample it always ends up being a humorous, heartbreaking experience that is tailor made for a blog entry.

So I’m sure you’ve all been waiting impatiently to see how the blood saga turned out. You may recall from a previous post that we had a not so great experience last time out. I’ll cut right to the chase here and tell you that we tried again last week and it went quite well.

There are three locations of labs in our area that we can go to get this blood collected and tested. I’m not quite sure why we can’t just go to the pediatrician’s office or the local hospital, but I guess it makes it more fun to drive 45 minutes each way to do this. Driving that much kind of adds to the festive, carnival-like atmosphere.

We were down to our third and final location as the other two aren’t options right now. One of them changed to only afternoon hours which doesn’t work well around a toddler’s nap schedule. And the other one was the subject of the previous post when things went awry, so we weren’t keen on going back there too soon.

So it was off to downtown Minneapolis. The first challenge was just trying to figure out how to get there. I wanted to avoid any highways on the way there that were near St. Paul as the Republican National Convention was in full swing. We instead bypassed St. Paul and moved fairly effortlessly into Minneapolis until we hit the last exit available before the road ends where the I-35W bridge is being rebuilt. We had a long wait exiting off there, but not as bad as I had originally feared.

Going downtown brings the excitement of finding a spot in a parking ramp, which we barely managed to do. Somehow we lucked into finding the skyway which took us to the correct building almost immediately. Josiah had a blast running around the waiting room which was a change from our previous attempts when all he wanted to do was run around the hallways.

I was impressed with this office building more than the previous ones as this place had a sushi bar and a guy wearing a top hat in the lobby. I didn’t really need any sushi or a guy in a top hat this time around, but it makes me feel better to know they’re there.

We took another rickety elevator up to the lab and prayed things would got a little better this time.

This phlebotomist (I wish I had a cool title like that) did such a good job with the blood draw. She just exuded much more confidence than our previous phlebotomist (again, I love that title!) and was able to quickly find a vein, draw the blood, and bandage Josiah up in world-record time. By the time this phlebotomist was done, our previous one would have still been knocking things over. Even the needle this new phleb (my abbreviation) used seemed so much smaller than the scary-looking one the other gal likes to use.

Quick aside….I had to look up the word phlebotomist to make sure I spelled it correctly and to see if that was indeed the title. I also came across the world phlebotomize. Now that’s really a nice word. I need to use that in a sentence today with my co-workers, I think. “Hey, if you don’t get me that report by 5, I’m going to phlebotomize you!”

So now we wait till our next appointment with our DAN doctor to see what the results are and if we can begin the chelation process again. I’m sure our next blood or urine experience will be right around the corner, but for now I’m celebrating a minor victory with this latest experience. 

As gross as it is, I think a fecal (another great word) specimen would be the easiest to get. The blood draw is tricky for obvious reasons and the urine one is a headache because the collector bags are a royal pain. But the poop would just be right there for the taking. I’m sure it’s pretty gross, but it would probably be the least painful for all parties involved (except for whoever has to test it I guess).