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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arkansas Mandate Moves

AP reports:

Speech therapist and behavior consultant Dayna Miller cried Tuesday as she told a silent group of Arkansas legislators about selling nearly everything she owned to get treatment for her autistic, 10-year-son.

Miller, who was a factory worker at the time, said her family sold possessions, took out loans and used her mother's savings. When they had used up everything they had, they learned to administer the behavioral treatment for her son Briar on their own.

Now, Briar speaks and reads clearly, plays golf and participates in a program for gifted children. Miller, 39, of Jonesboro, concluded her testimony in support of a bill that would require most health insurance plans to cover diagnosis and treatment for autism by bringing him in front of the committee.

"I am where I am because of good therapy," Briar said as many wiped away tears. "Every kid should have the same chance that I had."

After hearing from Miller and other parents of autistic children, the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee voted 13-4 to move the bill to the full House. Twenty-three other states have adopted some type of autism insurance measure since 2001, according to Lorri Unumb, a senior policy adviser for Autism Speaks, a national autism advocacy organization