Paul Terdal and his wife have a story that is both unique and reflects the experience of many parents of children with autism. They have two sons. The older one was incredibly gifted verbally and was sight reading before he was two. Only later, when he developed other symptoms, did the diagnosis of autism come. Their younger child was almost the opposite. By age two he was unable to communicate except by grunting and crying. Like many parents, Paul says it’s almost impossible to say, this is what autism looks like. It looks different in almost every child.
What Paul and his wife also found was that both of their children responded very well to early treatment. But the expensive treatment did not come easily and was largely uncovered by his health insurance company. He says many children are unable to get the care they need because health insurers are not providing the treatments that they believe are medically necessary for their kids to thrive. That’s why he and a group of other parents are working on a bill that would mandate insurers cover autism treatment. They’re trying to get a lawmaker to sponsor the bill and introduce it to the 2012 legislature — a similar bill died in the 2011 session.
Do you have children that need treatment for their autism? Does your health insurer provide coverage? What do you need as a parent to cope with challenges of raising a child with special needs?