Friday, April 27, 2012

Groundhog day 1

Today,  I attended a public meeting of Utah's Autism Treatment Fund Advisory Committee and it made quite an impression on me, so I want to share that with you.

This was the first time I've attended their meetings, but I recognized several people right away.  There was Cheryl Smith, whose son Carson is the namesake of a scholarship we hope to get.  Also representing parents was Leeann Whiffen, who looked vaguely familiar.


OK, I started writing that days ago last week.  I was going to write something about "finding your voice" and speaking up for autistics.  Then I got distracted when I started researching the Carson Smith scholarship.  It turns out that it's linked with the politics of school vouchers.  This was Distraction #1.

Other than voting, I've never taken a particular stand on vouchers.  I think that everybody in the U.S. should get to vote when they turn 18.  I think it's important that they should be able to think critically about issues, do their own math, and make good decisions.  Otherwise, our democracy will wind up run by people who vote the way some extremist on TV or radio tells them.  A quality free education through at least high school seems to be the way to go.  Caveat:  My mom was a public high school teacher.

There is a school of thought that says the IDEA should force school systems to provide ABA therapy.  Imagine if all 582,793/47=12,400 autistic Utah schoolkids asked for $30,000 worth of treatment ($372M) and Utah's government agreed to it (that would be increasing the education budget by about 10%).  That's about as likely as forcing the Fed give its land to Utah.

I feel pretty strongly that autism is a medical condition that should be covered by insurance.  Unfortunately, that was shot down this year, so, yea, I'll have our voucher application in on time, because ABA is expensive and you can only take out so many mortgages on one house.

Stay tuned.

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