Thursday, February 21, 2013

Autism Advocacy

In the next few weeks, you'll be reading more autism-specific posts here in Pudge and Biggie land.

Biggs is the latest human subject in an autism study at a local university and he and I are going to be part of some intensive weeks of behavioral training and coaching. 

One of the main reasons we're participating is because I need more tools to equip me in the art of reaching my son.  I don't have the skill set or the natural instincts that are most effective for helping him navigate his world and I'm failing him if I don't attempt to acquire some.

One of the other main reasons we're participating is that we live in Kansas.  If we lived fifteen miles to the east...or in numerous other states...we would have mandated coverage for autism therapies for all group commercial health plans.  But we're in Kansas.  Which means...unless you're directly employed by the state...any autism-specific therapies Biggs will benefit from will be paid for completely out of our own pocket. 

Essentially, on top of grad school...and 3 preschool schedules...and squib therapy schedules...and the daily task of keeping 3 sweet demons healthy and alive...I have to train myself to become an autism expert, because we cannot afford to pay someone else who already is one.

I am blessed to have resources and an educational background that make this training a possibility for me.  I am honored to do anything that will equip my son with the tools he needs to be as successful as he wants to be.  But, in a country where one in 88 children will receive a diagnosis of autism, it seems ludicrous that I would need to go to these lengths to ensure he has the care he deserves.
There is currently a bill in the Kansas House of Representatives that would extend autism coverage to all Kansas residents with state-regulated health plans. 

If you would take a moment to follow this link and communicate your support for autism insurance reform, it could make an incredible amount of difference to children like Biggs who live in our state and children who live in other states in need of drastic reform.  Also, if you could encourage those you know to do the same, we'd be ever so appreciative.

If you live outside our state and are feeling ambitious enough to help by contacting our speaker of the house, Ray Merrick, send us an email.   I'll forward you Mr. Merrick's email address along with a delightful pre-written email if you'd like, to make showing your support for children with autism relatively quick and painless.

Thanks so much for all the support you've continually shown and the enthusiasm with which you constantly embrace squib-specific causes.

Of all our many blessings, our fiercely devoted fan club is one of our best. & co.


  1. Ugh! I tried but it wouldn't let me because of my state. Email me someone else's address to use ;-)

    I wholeheartedly believe that Kansas needs to step up in terms of providing benefits to children with all disabilities.

    P.S. I'm so glad you gave up Facebook for Lent because I love your blog

  2. I followed the link and then shared it as well as this post on facebook! <3


  3. I live in Canada, otherwise I'd totally storm that cause for you. Not sure your Senator would care about outraged Canadians though.... :) Sent you a PM instead tonight.


  4. As a former Behavioral Therapist I COMPLETELY agree this important therapy should be available in every state! How awesome Biggs has you to arm yourself with all the info possible to give him every opportunity, how sucky you have to.

    (I too tried to register but it kicked me out for being a darn Minnesotan.)

  5. Showing your support for this type of bill does make a difference. In my state of Ohio, a bill mandating Autism coverage from private health insurers was signed into law last month. It took a long time and a lot of effort from families (and their support system) to make it a reality, and won't take effect till next year, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. Same for Pennsylvania. It wouldn't allow it although I did contact our Congressman to encourage yours to get it passed. Not sure if it'll help but know we are all with you in support and prayers. Personally, I think you will probably end up being the best Autism expert around. Here's hopin' Ray Merrick gets it done.

  7. Hi again! I am a friend of Kelli Hammond and found your adorable blog and have followed it for a couple years. Just wanted you to know how much I love your family through Blog world. Also, I have worked a lot with individuals with down syndrome as well as with children and if you ever need Family pictures I would absolutely love to be a part of that with You. I have a link to my photography website in my blog. Blessings to you!


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