lukegilman.com : The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Texas is a terrible place to have a child with Autism, Make it Better

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Disclaimer: I’m a little biased on this subject. Two of my best friends in the world were living in San Antonio when their 2-year old son was diagnosed with autism. While there’s no cure for autism, early, ongoing treatment of the disorder can dramatically increase the level of functionality of people with the disorder, often producing healthy, happy, productive, taxpaying, voting members of society.

My friends explored all the options with help from family that had connections in the medical community, that is to say, more resources than most folks in their situation would have at their disposal. It didn’t matter. Texas is a terrible place to raise a child with autism. They moved to Vermont.

While in Texas the best they could do was a version of daycare with only group supervision of autistic children that spanned the gamut from high to very low functioning. The cost was upwards of $2,000 a month. In Vermont they have a team of specialists that make regular house visits to work with their son one-on-one in their own home. The cost is picked up by the state.

The Vermont approach has costs of course. The treatment is funded by tax dollars. We shouldn’t ignore the costs of Texas’ do-nothing approach either. People like my friends leave and those who might consider coming to Texas for a job think twice.

According to a friend of mine who works in the law center, the Law Library was considering a potential hire from out of state and was impressed enough to offer the candidate a job on the spot. The catch? That person had a child with autism and decided to keep looking rather than raise that child in Texas.

I mention these stories because Off the Kuff alerts us that Governor Perry is considering vetoing HB 1919, a bill that would reclassify autism as a neurological disorder rather than a mental illness, requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for autistic children from 3-5 years of age. HB 1919 has passed both houses, but according to the San Antonio Express News, the Texas Association of Business is pushing for the veto.

Read the Full Text of HB 1919

More reactions and analysis from Autism Bulletin Blog, Dig Deeper Texas, A Perfectly Cromulent Blog

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One Response

  1. PT-LawMom says:

    This is very sad news to hear. I would assume most parents who live out of state have been through the very tough IDEA placement process and would choose to examine the process here before moving but can you imagine having no other choice? Especially as autism rates are on the rise (or its just being caught more). I worked as a behavioral therapist with a high functioning autistic child for several years and it’s astounding what they can do with one-on-one attention. But the strong educational component is key – daycare isn’t going to do it!! It is really wrong that the Texas legislators are putting favors for big business ahead of what’s best for your state’s children.

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