Autism Speaks | Parents, Advocates, and Legislators Hit the Ground Running for Virginia Autism Insurance Reform Bill | Sept. 30, 2008 #AutisticHistory #BanABA


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

Parents, Advocates, and Legislators Hit the Ground Running for Virginia Autism Insurance Reform Bill

(Richmond, VA – September 30, 2008) Yesterday, Autism Speaks joined with parents in Richmond, Virginia for a hearing before the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits on the autism insurance reform bill. Members of the autism community from all corners of the Commonwealth filled the hearing room wearing red shirts to show their solidarity in support for this bill. 

The job of the Commission is to review changes in required health insurance benefits proposed during the General Assembly session, to conduct hearings on these changes, and to make recommendations to the General Assembly and Governor based on their findings.

Delegate Robert Marshall (13th District), the main sponsor of this bill, was the first to speak at the hearing. He began his comments with the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” evoking the sense for the members of the Commission just how crucial their support for this bill is to help the children and families affected by autism now struggling in Virginia. 

Next to speak at the hearing was Delegate David E. Poisson (32nd District). Delegate Poisson is a main cosponsor of this bill and spoke about the need for private health insurance coverage for medically necessary, evidence-based treatments for children with autism.

Stuart Spielman, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel for Autism Speaks, provided comments at the hearing as well, providing Autism Speaks’ view about the necessity of this bill and testifying to the projected cost to health insurance consumers if this bill is passed. 

The Commission had many questions about the medical necessity and effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in the treatment of autism. These questions were largely answered by Dr. Paul Law, MD MPH, Director of Medical Informatics at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and developer of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) Project, and Dr. Rebecca Rosenberg, Clinical Research Specialist for the IAN Project. As part of their presentation, the Doctors presented a video showing a child’s behavior before ABA treatment and after ABA treatment.

The parents that spoke next at the hearing carried the day’s most important and personal message. Each told the story of their child or children with autism, how treatments, such as ABA, have helped them, and the burden that the cost of these important treatments has placed on their family finances. Amongst these parent speakers were Pat DiBeri and Lee Talley, both Chapter Advocacy Chairs for Autism Speaks. 

The Commission will be holding further hearings on this bill and will be awaiting the report that is currently being put together by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) that is set to be finished in June 2009. 

The next step and most crucial step to getting this bill passed in the General Assembly is for all Virginians to contact their Delegate and explain to them the importance of this legislation for their family and loved ones!

More With Autism Votes


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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