Imagine you are told that you have to get to "City XYZ." Getting there is practically a matter of life and death. You ask for a map and are given dozens. Each one offers a completely different route along with a disclaimer stating: "map may or may not lead to City XYZ." But these maps are all you have. Which one do you follow? Even if you pick one and start on your way, how long do you travel on this uncertain path until you give up and try a different map? Imagine how you would feel? Frustrated...afraid...angry...but you can't give up until you reach City XYZ.
This is life with Autism. From the day my son was diagnosed (and then later his baby sister), I have been offered countless opinions on which course of action I should take in treating my children. There is no ONE agreed upon treatment method. You have to use trial & error to see what works for your child since every child on the spectrum is different. Even my two children exhibit different traits and therefore require personalized interventions. So you try something. Then you try something else. All the while knowing that time is the enemy - every day without appropriate intervention is a day lost to Autism - A day your child slips further away from you. Now add to the mix the cost. Can you afford the treatments your child desperately needs?
So why do I bring this up? We need to change the way insurance companies view Autism. Let me take a pause here to be clear about something - I am not suggesting that the government take over health care (I'll save my opinions on that subject for another day), instead we need to fix the current system. Most of my children's' interventions are not covered by insurance because they are deemed "educational" and not "medical." Or, my favorite - experimental. Of course they are experimental. No one has figured out yet how to help our kids!!!! Yes, Autism is in the news a lot these days. There are countless books and interviews about this destructive disorder, but awareness isn't enough. We need action.
If, as a country, we don't feel a call to action due to our responsibility to care for the least of us, we should certainly be called to action because of the bottom line. 1 in 150 children are being diagnosed with Autism. If we don't give these children the help they need to one day become independent individuals who do you think is going to pay to care for them?