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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Autism and Balls in Utah

An earlier post discussed how Alaska activists used gumballs to make a point about treatmentThe Salt Lake Tribune reports on a variation of the theme:
Advocates for autism insurance coverage will build a ball pit in the Utah State Capitol Rotunda Friday to represent the number of children affected by the brain disorder.
Using a giant container built by Home Depot and plastic balls from Toys ‘R Us, the Utah Autism Coalition wants lawmakers to know 18,532 Utah children have autism. The group will also distribute jars with 639 gumballs to each state senator and 247 balls to each representative, representing the average number of autistic children in their districts.
"We decided it takes a lot of balls to take on the insurance industry on this issue and so that’s exactly what we did. We bought a lot of balls," said Mirella Petersen, with the coalition and the state’s advocacy chair for the national group Autism Speaks, on a YouTube video as an appeal to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
The ball will be in the Legislature’s court Thursday, when a bill that would mandate health insurance coverage of autism testing and treatment will be heard by the Senate Business and Labor Committee. The bill is sponsored by freshman Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, who is a doctor.