Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Services Go to Those Who Fight Hardest

Part 2 of the Los Angeles Times' autism series.

LOS ANGELES -- From the day her son was diagnosed with autism nine years ago, Stacie Funk has made it her full-time job to find him the best possible help. Hiring lawyers and experts to press her case, she established herself as a mother whose demands could not easily be dismissed.
The result has been a bounty of assistance for Jonah: A behavioral therapist who works with him at home and comes along on family outings, a personal aide at school and specialists to design his curriculum, improve his speech and refine his motor skills.
So far, the state of California and the Los Angeles Unified School District have spent at least $300,000 on specialized services for Jonah.
Now 13, he bites his hands, pinches his younger siblings and is easily flustered by changes in routine. But his mother is proud of the progress he's made — his ability to express his needs, read aloud and surf the Internet for movie trivia.
The outside support, she said, helps hold the family together.

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