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  1. Vaccines, public health and Trump: Good policy...

    January 3, 2017- "Vaccines, public health and Trump: Good policy prevents outbreaks"- Recent clusters of outbreaks of diseases such as measles and mumps due to individuals not being vaccinated, show that the false study conclusions and misinformation is alive and well.  President-elect Donald Trump has also made his concerns over a potential link between vaccines and autism despite having no scientific basis and having been disproven multiple times.  Trump will play an integral part in the vaccine debate and here's hoping that science will prevail.

    • Jan 04 2017 11:26 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  2. Trump Win Brings Uncertainty on Disability Policy

    November 10, 2016- "Trump Win Brings Uncertainty on Disability Policy"- The lack of information provided by Trump on the campaign trail regarding disability issues along with a Republican majority House and Senate has advocates scrambling.  Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility stated "I don't want to pretend this is not a crisis because the fact is that President Obama and Hillary Clinton had very strong ties with the disability community and had very clear plans for the disability community. Mr. Trump will have the opportunity now to engage with lots of people and hopefully this will become and important issue."

    • Nov 10 2016 10:56 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  3. Ranking Names States With Best Disability Services

    October 3, 2016 -"Ranking Names States With Best Disability Services"- Which states offer the best services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities? A new national ranking of developmental disability services looks at which states have the best offerings including Medicaid, how individuals with disabilities live within their communities, and how satisfied they are with their lives.

    • Oct 03 2016 09:46 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  4. Diabetes drug slows weight gain in some childre...

    September 28, 2016 - "Diabetes drug slows weight gain in some children with autism"- The only two medications approved for children with autism are the antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazaole, and unfortunately one of the side effects is weight gain and metabolic changes linked to diabetes. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, a common drug for diabetes, metformin, can reverse weight gain in children with autism who take antipsychotic medications.

    • Oct 03 2016 09:36 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  5. Congress Eyes Changes to ABLE Act, Special Need...

    September 27, 2016 - "Congress Eyes Changes to ABLE Act, Special Needs Trusts"- The ABLE to Work Act, which calls for individuals with disabilities who are employed, the ability to save their earnings up to the federal poverty level, in their ABLE accounts above and beyond the existing cap. This piece of legislation is headed before a full Senate. Another improvement is the ABLE Financial Planning Act which would allow families to rollover money saved in a 529 college savings plan into an ABLE account.
    Click on the link in the title for the full details.

    • Oct 03 2016 09:26 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  6. Waiting List Placements May Violate ADA

    August 30, 2016- "Waiting List Placements May Violate ADA"- Have you been on a waiting list for community-based services? This may be enough evidence to file a claim that the individual's rights have been violated according to the Justice Department in a statement of interest filed this month.

    • Sep 01 2016 08:37 AM
    • by National Autism Network
  7. Feds Move to End Segregated Schools for Kids wi...

    August 22, 2016- "Feds Move to End Segregated Schools for Kids with Disabilities"- The U.S. Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit claiming Georgia has violated the civil rights of students assigned to the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program, citing a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires students with disabilities to be educated as often as possible with children who are typically developing. The agency is seeking the closure of the 24 GNETS programs.  An investigation carried out by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia schools assigned a vastly disproportionate number of African-American Students to GNETs program. Additionally, restraints were used nearly 10,000 times, five times more than at the state’s other 2,300 public schools combined.

    • Aug 22 2016 09:48 AM
    • by brian
  8. Single Mom's Search for Therapist Foiled by...

    July 28, 2016- "Single Mom's Search for Therapist Foiled by Insurance Companies"- This article begins with one family unable to access insurance coverage, but quickly delves into the larger issues that prevented more than half of the 43 million Americans suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions from receiving help. Reasons varied from not being able to afford it, being embarrassed to ask for help, and an inability to navigate through the red tape. The recent 2008 Mental Health Parity Act was supposed to quell these issues, such as preventing insurance companies  from charging higher copays or setting up separate deductibles for mental health care. The article concludes with a disheartening breakdown of what happens when they tried to contact 100 psychologists in San Francisco and were only able to find 8 psychologists with appointments after regular work hours.

    • Jul 29 2016 09:13 AM
    • by brian
  9. In First, Insurer to Offer ABA Coverage Nationwide

    July 22, 2016- "In First, Insurer to Offer ABA Coverage Nationwide'- UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, will include coverage of applied behavior analysis in every group plan it offers starting next year. In a recent statement, the company announced they “will be extending ABA benefit coverage to new and renewing fully insured small and large group plans in the few remaining states that do not mandate ABA coverage.” Additionally, ABA benefits will be part of all self-funded plans administered by UnitedHealtcare unless companies explicitly choose to opt out. The decision has been deemed an unprecedented move for a large insurance company and is expected to impact at least 250,000 individuals affected by autism.

    • Jul 25 2016 10:58 AM
    • by brian
  10. Wandering Bill Gains Senate Approval

    July 15, 2016- "Wandering Bill Gains Senate Approval"- The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved legislation to provide tracking devices and other resources to help kids with autism and developmental disabilities at the risk of wandering. The legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to provide grants to law enforcement agencies to pay for electronic tracking devices for those with developmental disabilities who are prone to bolting. Specifically, $2 million would be directed annually to the program, which would include tracking devices as well as training and other efforts to address wandering. The bill now has to clear the hurdles of the House before reaching the president’s desk.

    • Jul 18 2016 09:54 AM
    • by brian
  11. Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Network fo...

    July 11, 2016- "Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Network for Excellence in Autism"- The Delaware Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 93, which establishes the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism at the Center for Disability Studies.  The network will function to make more resources available to schools, allow for more children to be appropriately educated in their home districts, create a more efficient statewide system of services, and address the issues raised in the “Blueprint for Collective Action” report. These include early identifications, diagnosis and educational classification, pre-professional training, transitions to adult life, family support, and more. The bill currently awaits the signature of Gov. Jack Markell.

    • Jul 13 2016 10:02 AM
    • by brian
  12. Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses

    July 11, 2016- "Insurance Mandates Boost U.S. Autism Diagnoses"- A new study has found that children are getting diagnosed and treated for autism in states that require commercial health insurers to cover these services. However, there are still a great number of children who have gone undiagnosed and still aren’t receiving therapy. To assess the effectiveness of state insurance mandates, the Penn researchers analyzed inpatient and outpatient health insurance claims from 2008 through 2012 for more than 1 million children aged 21 and younger. Over the course of the study, just over 154,000 kids were diagnosed with autism. Overall, the mandates result in a 12.7 annual increase in diagnoses, according to researchers. Furthermore, the longer these laws were in police, the mote children were identified, with an 18 percent jump noted in the finals years of the study.

    • Jul 11 2016 02:59 PM
    • by brian
  13. Autism Advocates Hope New Budget will Restore S...

    July 5, 2016- "Autism Advocates Hope New Budget will Restore Services"- Families and advocates in Illinois are hopeful the $4.2 million earmarked for autism services in the state budget deal approved last week will restore programs and services shut down because of funding shortages during the recent impasse.  This article details how dismal the state of autism services has become since autism funding was cut. The passing of this recent stopgap budget may serve as a temporary solution, but future funding for organizations working with autism may be scarce.  

    • Jul 06 2016 09:35 AM
    • by brian
  14. Federal Panel Seeks Input on Autism

    June 21, 2016- "Federal Panel Seeks Input on Autism"- The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee recently published a notice in the Federal Register stating it’s looking for comments from people with autism, family members, service providers, advocates, and other interested parties as it gears up for its 2016 update. The panel is comprised of government officials and members of the autism community and is charged with creating and annually updating the federal government’s priorities for autism research, services, and policy. The IACC is accepting comments through July 29.

    • Jun 22 2016 10:33 AM
    • by brian
  15. Texas Denies Medicaid Coverage for an Autism Th...

    June 17, 2016- "Texas Denies Medicaid Coverage for an Autism Therapy"- This article details how families in Texas are butting heads with officials after the state suddenly said the Medicaid program would not cover behavioral therapy. Additionally, the effects of the rejection of ABA coverage have been compounded for many families by a controversial state decision to cut back on Medicaid payments for other home-based therapy services for children, including many that affect children with autism. Families may be forced to pursue litigation against the state if federal officials do not intervene.  

    • Jun 20 2016 10:33 AM
    • by brian
  16. Clinton Plan to End Subminimum Wage Stirs Debate

    June 6, 2016- "Clinton Plan to End Subminimum Wage Stirs Debate"- Hillary Clinton is calling to raise the minimum wage for jobs employing Americans with disabilities who earn pennies per hour. The lower pay, permitted by a policy in place since 1938, has been scrapped for federally contract employees, and many feel states should do the same. However, families and caregivers believe the benefit of these jobs comes from an intangible sense of self-worth, and that raising pay for these workers will doom the nonprofit community groups that run most job sites. As many as 241,000 workers earn less than the national minimum wage due to intellectual or developmental disabilities that have an effect on job performance, according to U.S. Department of Labor data.  

    • Jun 06 2016 12:10 PM
    • by brian
  17. ABLE Accounts Make Debut

    June 2, 2016- "ABLE Accounts Make Debut"- For the first time, people with disabilities can open Achieving a Betting Life Experience, or ABLE, savings accounts where they can save money without jeopardizing their government benefits. Ohio recently became the first state to make available ABLE accounts through the state’s offering known as STABLE. Joining Ohio in the upcoming weeks are Nebraska and Tennessee with Florida making their accounts available July 1. Each state program is expected to be unique and fees are likely to vary.

    • Jun 03 2016 10:00 AM
    • by brian
  18. Senator Calls for Full Funding of IDEA

    May 23, 2016- "Senator Calls for Full Funding of IDEA"- U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). When Congress originally passed IDEA in 1975 mandating special education services in the nation’s public schools, lawmakers committed to footing 40 percent of the bill, leaving states and local officials to pick up the rest. However, this never materialized. In the fiscal year 2016, the federal government plans to cover just 16 percent of the cost of special education for kids ages 3 to 21, a figured that’s $17.85 billion shy of the original commitment. This isn’t the first time that a lawmaker has called for the increased funding for IDEA. Multiple bills have been introduced in Congress over the years, but they’ve been unsuccessful in garnering much traction.

    • May 23 2016 10:15 AM
    • by brian
  19. Research Raises Questions about Impact of State...

    May 11, 2016- "Research Raises Questions about Impact of State Autism Insurance Mandates"- New research evaluating the insurance mandates, which have been passed in a total of 44 states and the District of Columbia, suggests they are failing in key ways, especially when it comes to providing children needed therapy. Researchers found that the state mandates, which apply to coverage available on the individual market and some group and employer plans, led to about 12 percent more children getting some kind of treatment for autism. The article goes on to discuss how their research was conducted and elaborates on the conclusion that insurance mandates are “necessary but not sufficient.”

    • May 11 2016 01:34 PM
    • by brian
  20. First ABLE Accounts Expected This Summer

    May 10, 2016- "First ABLE Accounts Expected This Summer"- The first ABLE accounts are on the cusp of being available over a year and a half after the legislation was signed into law. Nebraska is the first state to announce a launch date – June 30 -- though advocates believe Ohio could offer its accounts even sooner. The availability of ABLE accounts for individuals with disabilities has been a work in progress for 10 years. For more on ABLE, check out our article “The ABLE Act- What It Is and Why It Is Important.”  

    • May 11 2016 12:45 PM
    • by brian
  21. Fallin Signs Bill to Require Insurance Companie...

    May 5, 2016- "Fallin Signs Bill to Require Insurance Companies to Cover Autism Treatment"- House Bill 2962 was recently signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, mandating insurance policies issued in the state provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment os ASD for children younger than 9 and for up to sex years for children diagnosed after age 3, with an annual maximum benefit of $25,000. The bill’s sponsor Rep. Jason Nelson, praises the legislation as a bipartisan, grassroots victory. Oklahoma joins 43 other states that have passed meaningful autism insurance reform legislation.

    • May 05 2016 09:05 AM
    • by brian
  22. States Band Together on ABLE Accounts

    April 20, 2016- "States Band Together on ABLE Accounts"- Nine states have formed a consortium as they work to make accounts created under the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act available to the public. Though ABLE accounts were authorized with federal passage of the ABLE Act in 2014, each state has to approve their own legislation and create regulations before offering them. To date, 40 states and Washington D.C. have approved legislation to create ABLE accounts, but no state has yet to make the program available to consumers. By uniting in the consortium, state officials say they will be able to attract better quality investment products at lower cost.  The states say the plan to work together to offer investment options, but each state will operate its own ABLE program.

    • Apr 22 2016 10:22 AM
    • by brian
  23. Governor's Budget Includes Funds for People...

    April 14, 2016- "Governor's Budget Includes Funds for People Living with Autism"- Recently, Governor Pat McCrory announced an expansion of funds for Medicaid Innovations Waivers that will create an additional 250 slots for people with developmental disabilities in North Carolina. There are as many as 12,000 people on the Innovations Waiver waiting list, with some waiting as long as 10 years. In addition, the governor announced that the state will submit a plan to the federal government by fall to include evidence-based therapies for people on the autism spectrum.

    • Apr 18 2016 12:58 PM
    • by brian
  24. Feds OK Intensive Autism Treatment

    April 12, 2016- "Feds OK Intensive Autism Treatment"- Despite the state’s reluctance, citing concern of potential cost, Nebraska Medicaid will cover applied behavior analysis and other behavioral modification services. Services approved for coverage include day treatment, community treatment aides, and outpatient therapy. Treatment models approved for coverage include cognitive behavioral therapy, comprehensive behavioral intervention, and ABA for children.

    • Apr 13 2016 09:10 AM
    • by brian
  25. Federal Judge: Religious Schools Exempt from ADA

    April 5, 2016- "Federal Judge: Religious Schools Exempt from ADA"- A federal judge in New Jersey has ruled that Quaker schools are not required to provide services to students with learning disabilities. The judge said the school was exempt from federal and state disability laws because it was a religious institution, a decision that could have far-ranging implications for religious schools. The article goes into detail about the specifics of this particular ruling and discusses what some of those implications might be.

    • Apr 06 2016 03:07 PM
    • by brian