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From The Archives | e-speaks Autism Speaks Newsletter | Circa May 9, 2008

e-Speaks || May 9, 2008     

Florida Passes Autism Insurance Legislation

On May 2, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 2654, an important first step in requiring insurance carriers to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. Senate Bill 2654 – passed by the House in the very last minutes of the legislative session — requires that insurance companies cover up to $36,000 a year for Applied Behavior Analysis and other therapies for children under age eighteen, with a lifetime limit for treatments of $200,000. The legislation gives insurance companies until April 2009 to negotiate a compact with the State Office of Insurance Regulation to develop autism coverage plans before the mandate takes effect. Read more.

Connecticut Passes Trimmed Down Autism Bill

On May 7, the Connecticut Senate passed Substitute House Bill 5696, a first step toward financial relief for families, but lacking coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis. Substitute House Bill 5696 replaced a far more ambitious bill, House Bill 5696, that was originally endorsed and supported by Autism Speaks. As passed, the trimmed down bill will require certain health insurance policies to cover, as of January 1, 2009, physical, speech, and occupational therapy provided to treat autism spectrum disorders if the policies cover these services for other diseases and conditions. Autism Speaks remains hopeful the Connecticut Legislature will remedy the exclusion of empirically validated, medically necessary interventions for individuals with autism during its next legislative session. Also passed were two other autism bills, one specific to training teachers and paraprofessionals, and one directed at the expansion of the adult pilot program. Read more.

Inaugural Walks in Ohio and Utah Raise Over $650,000

Nearly 9,000 walkers raised more than $650,000 at first year Walk Now for Autism events in Cincinnati, Ohio and Salt Lake City, Utah this past weekend. Read more and view photos and video from the Cincinnati and Utah Walks.

Department of Defense Announces $5.9 Million in Autism Research Funding

The Department of Defense’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Program (ASDRP) recently announced the proposals recommended for funding from its Fiscal Year 2007 grants totaling $5.9 million to aid research programs in three main categories: clinical partnership, idea development and concept.

Read more about the 2007 recommended proposals and view individual project descriptions here. The ASDRP also announces new funding opportunities for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2008 grants which are now available on their website. Read more about 2008 funding opportunities here.

Symposium Focuses on Role of Environment in Autism

On April 22, more than 200 participants convened at Vanderbilt University to discuss the role of the environment in increasing autism risk as well as its impact on the diversity of behavioral and medical symptoms in autism. Presenters included experts in the fields of toxicology, epidemiology, psychology, and molecular biology. Special emphasis was given to how epidemiological research has informed scientists about potential exposures and how they may interact with genetic risk factors. Also discussed were a variety of potential environmental factors and how exposure to them may produce symptoms of ASD. Full videos of the presentations are available on the Symposium website. Read more.
Don’t Miss your Last Chance to the be the Honorary Starter at a NASCAR Race!

There’s still time to bid on an opportunity to be the honorary starter and wave the green flag for the “Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks” at Dover International Speedway. The auction ends Sun., May 11 and the race takes place on Sun., June 1 in Dover, Delaware. Bid on the auction or learn more about the event.

Suzanne Wright Honored with Spirit of Achievement Award

On May 5, Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright was honored at The 54th Annual Spirit of Achievement Luncheon sponsored by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s National Women’s Division. The award is presented annually to a prominent and diverse group of women in honor of their professional and humanitarian achievements. Read more.

National Chamber Players Concert in Virginia Raises More than $57,000

On April 29, the National Chamber Players performed a concert in Alexandria, Virginia to benefit Autism Speaks. Over 150 guests, including MSNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent Norah O’Donnell, joined students at Episcopal High School for the concert and reception which raised more than $57,000 for Autism Speaks. Read more and view photos here.

“Autism: the Musical” DVD Now Available

"Autism: The Musical", the uplifting and joyous documentary that premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, is now available on DVD. As seen on HBO, "Autism: The Musical" tells the story of five children, their families and one acting coach as they heroically mount a full-length original stage production. Purchase "Autism: the Musical" and don't forget to stock up on tasty Bachman Puzzle Pretzels to snack on while you enjoy the flick! Be sure to check out other great gift items in the online store, including the glamorous Judith Ripka necklace.            

In Their Own Words: Understanding Comes With Experience

In our latest “In Their Own Words” essay, a mother describes how raising her son with autism has taught her the valuable lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and openmindedness. Read more.

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