Autism Speaks Joins the Arizona Autism Community in Hailing Governor Janet Napolitano and State Legislators for Enacting Autism Insurance Legislation | March 21, 2008 #AutisticHistory #BanABA


[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Autism Speaks Joins the Arizona Autism Community in Hailing Governor Janet Napolitano and State Legislators for Enacting Autism Insurance Legislation

(NEW YORK, NY – March 21, 2008)  Autism Speaks today joined Arizona families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding Governor Janet Napolitano and the state’s legislators for enacting House Bill 2847, which will require insurance carriers to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies. In many states, insurers explicitly exclude coverage of these therapies from policies, which places a significant financial burden on families seeking to provide their children with necessary services. Autism Speaks has launched a multi-state initiative to address this discrimination. 

The new Arizona law requires insurers to cover up to $50,000 a year for Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for children until age nine, and $25,000 a year for children until age sixteen. It covers therapy for children whose diagnoses reflect the full range of the autism spectrum. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General, among others, as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism. 

“Every state in the nation, and every Governor, is facing the same struggle to meet the treatment needs of this growing population,” said Governor Napolitano. “In my view and in the view of the families who have struggled to pay for necessary treatments for their children with autism — often resulting in bankruptcy or families joining the state welfare rolls — HB 2847 is a necessary insurance update to cover essential treatments for these children.”

“With the enactment of this legislation, Arizona joins the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism,” said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks vice president for government relations. “These families are either going broke trying to provide services for their children or stitching together inadequate treatment plans because they simply cannot afford the help their children need and deserve. That is about to change.”

The passage of this legislation was the result of a grass-roots advocacy effort led by hundreds of committed families with the support of local and national advocacy organizations, including: the Autism Society of America, Greater Phoenix Chapter; ASA Pima County and Northern Arizona Chapter; Supporting Autism Now through Education (SANE); Asperger Parent Network; Arizona Autism Coalition; Arizona Autism Support; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), Recover our Kids (ROK), and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), among others. 

“This new law is a great victory for Arizona families and those living with autism,” said Lisa Glow, CEO of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). “We are especially pleased that the legislation includes coverage of therapies for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), in addition to autistic disorder. All children on the spectrum can make improvements with treatment, so no category of children should be excluded or discriminated against.” 

“The autism community came together in support of this legislation in a way that was unprecedented,” said Gretchen Jacobs, a lobbyist — and mother of a four year-old girl with autism — who worked on the legislation. “Family members from around the state made phone calls, wrote letters and walked the districts of lawmakers. It was a coordinated campaign that brought out the best in our community.”

The legislative effort began as “Steven’s Law”, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Amanda Aguirre of Tucson (Senate Bill 1263), and named after the son of Char Ugol, the mother of a child with autism. The bill was then amended onto House Bill 2847 sponsored by Rep. Bill Konopnicki.


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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