Saturday, October 17, 2009

Filling the Autism Void

Interesting guest column by Doug Flutie in the Boston Globe

Massachusetts may have the best health care in the country, but it doesn’t cover the treatment for the fastest-growing health threat to children - autism.
Autism affects brain function and impairs communication, social interaction, and sensory modulation skills. The most recent statistics show that 1 in 91 children has autism, with the incidence four times as high in boys.
More than 500 babies born this year in Massachusetts will soon be diagnosed with autism. What their parents will learn first - what my wife, Laurie, and I have learned from our son Dougie - is that while the hopes and dreams for their child may change, they will also intensify.
Parents will learn that, with early intervention, children with autism can make significant strides - a fact backed up by extensive studies. They’ll find that their pediatricians and neurologists will prescribe intense one-on-one speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapies. And then they’ll be dismayed to discover that, though they’ve always paid their health care premiums, their health plans will not cover these services.

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