Through my travels around the state and meeting with many families with a loved one with autism, has allowed me to understand the great need of our autism community. I have also learned something from each family. Many families are in need of funding to provide services their child’s professionals prescribe for them. Many families have the funding but struggle to find qualified providers who understand autism. Some families are in areas of our state where they do not have access to knowledgeable people to teach them about navigating the funding and service system. What I have learned, I have reported to state departments, advocacy groups, OCALI, and legislators. I look to these organizations to help find solutions to family’s struggles.
I encourage families to join their local chapter of the Autism Society, join your region’s family advisory council through Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, or join a local support group. Participate in Walk for Autism or other fundraising events to benefit autism. Sharing your stories and showing up to events helps bring awareness about autism in our communities.
I, as well as SBSA, want Parents throughout the state to know that we are here for them. If we can’t answer your question, we will help direct you to those who can. We want to be your friend and help build relationships among Parents in the autism community. We want Parents to know about our services at SBSA as well as other appropriate services and providers that can enrich their children’s lives.
I look forward to helping more families across the state in the future and I hope the advocacy services that SBSA will be providing will be of great benefit to many.
Remember, no question is too small or irrelevant when the answer could really help your child.
The more we build community awareness of autism the more support the individuals with autism and their families have available. This will allow an outcome where the individual and community lead a more enriching life. Our organization has always supported the efforts to achieve this goal. Step By Step Academy (SBSA) prides itself in always being involved in community events, legislation, and working closely with government agencies to improve funding and services offered to the autism community. We work side by side with families to develop them as effective advocates for their families needs. We also help them understand when changes in legislation are being considered and how that affects their loved ones services and funding. We support families by providing advocacy services for a variety of meetings and trainings a family may need. Our attendance in meetings can help a family member feel safer and more confident that they will communicate all the wants and needs that are of concern. No matter the type of meeting educational, medical, government services and even meetings with their loved ones direct care staff and providers. We can provide the support the family needs to assure that based on the current rules and regulations of the state they are accessing funding and services that help them meet the needs of their family. There is no better feeling than providing advocacy services to an individual and/or family in need. It is the most amazing feeling to know that you have helped an individual and/or family in need. It is very rewarding work.
“When I look at the way Logan used to be – the way he would scream and cry and bang his head, the way he would hit and bite, I’m amazed. I felt very strongly that he would never be independent. Most people who meet Logan now struggle to believe things were ever as bad as they were. My son is living proof that what Step By Step Academy does, works. If it weren’t for their program, I do not know where we’d be. Logan is a success story.” – Melissa M.
“My grandson was previously in a general education program and had no independent skills and no communication. After attending Step By Step Academy, his self help skills have greatly improved, he is able to adapt to change quickly and his behavior has improved tremendously! Our lives are so much easier now as Jason is so much less frustrated and angry. The staff at Step By Step go out of their way to understand Jason and teach him functional academics and skills in a way that he can understand. His communication is so much improved that he is asking to play and do activities at home that involve the family. At Step By Step, Jason is not a stranger or a number; he is a person!” – Susan N.
“My family and I actually moved to Ohio from Texas to send Lindsey to Step By Step Academy. We were able to tour the facility while visiting Ohio on vacation, and when we returned home to Texas, nothing in our local area compared. We wanted Lindsey’s education to meet her where she was, not where a school district thought she should be, and in all our searching, Step By Step Academy was the only place we felt confident in – it’s exactly what our daughter needed most, and we are thrilled to have gotten her here.” – Jenny R.
Step By Step Academy was honored to be asked for the second year in a row to help the Autism Diagnosis Education Project (ADEP) and the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, in a free training session on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) for public health and service employees. This training was held on April 22nd & 23rd 2010. About ADEP-As part of the budget bill passed in June, 2007 to secure an appropriation for a pilot early screening program for autism and developmental disabilities in Ohio. The appropriation was renewed in the budget bill passed in June 2009. The Autism Diagnosis Education Project (ADEP) is actively working to educate physicians around Ohio about screening and diagnosis of autism.In addition, ADEP is working with others that identify children with autism – Help Me Grow, school districts, County Boards of Developmental Disabilities – to collaborate on these types of efforts.
To read more about this, please visit www.concernedaboutdevelopment.org
Well believe it not, there is no mention of autism, but it can be summed up in four little words- “including behavioral health treatment.” Doesn’t seem like much huh? Top national advocates believe with the insertion of these four words into the essential core benefit section of the new health care reform bill will provide intensive behavioral treatments, ABA, to persons with autism. Right now we expect these services to be ready for us to access in 2014. I know you have heard that the new reform bill also stops preexisting condition discrimination and it will also offer dependent coverage up to 25 years of age.
The Autism Insurance Reform bill – House Bill 8 – was passed by the Ohio House on December 14, 2009! HB 8 prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage for specified services for individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Covered services under the bill include: Habilitative or rehabilitative care (which would include therapies like Applied Behavior Analysis), pharmacy care if the policy, contract, or agreement provides coverage for other prescription drug services, psychiatric care, psychological care, therapeutic care, and counseling services. The bill was amended to include a $36,000/per cap on benefits, requiring providers to be licensed or work under a licensed provider, delays the effective date of the legislation until January 2011 and allows for six-month reviews of treatment plans by health insurance companies. As of October 2010, the bill is now in committee in the Ohio Senate for consideration. The more difficult task will be securing support for this legislation in the Senate. Parents need to contact their Senators and ask them to support House Bill 8. There are currently 23 states that have passed autism insurance reform. As always, the Autism Society of Ohio and local chapters will alert you as to new developments. To read more about legislative issues affecting individuals with autism, please visit www.autismsociety.org, click on advocacy and then legislation.
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