. With Love, From The Mother 'Hood: Autism Services On Chopping Block

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Autism Services On Chopping Block

Every time I hear of a government official pushing for cuts that negatively affect the autism community I am baffled, outraged, and left thinking "Obviously this person has never lived with autism." Today, I learned that Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett is proposing cuts to "Wraparound" services ("Wraparound", also known as "Home and Community Services", are therapeutic services that address and treat behavioral issues associated with autism, and can include the entire family within treatment/therapy.) I am not blogging about this just because it is an autism issue, or just because I feel strongly about advocating, but because this hits me on a very personal level. Over the last six years, in addition to other therapies, we had wraparound for our son and today I received word that he no longer needs this assistance. This is HUGE. Unfortunately, so are the proposed cuts.

To give you some perspective: Six years ago, at age two it was difficult to leave home with Max and I had doubts about public school. We fought hard and Max entered kindergarten on schedule, mainstreamed with a full-time therapist attending school with him. Forward to now and in third grade he is meeting expectancies for the beginning of grade level. He no longer requires the therapist in class and has learned through wraparound to self manage his sensory processing differences. One of the few outward signs that he is “different” are his stims (stim: autistic people often fixate on a comforting or compelling thing or action (such as rocking or humming); to perseverate.) and he does these quietly without interrupting the class. The assistance that we received from our wraparound providers is a large part of why Max is doing so well and our family is proof positive that early intervention makes a difference. I cringe to think where we would be today without having it, and I imagine my son would still need care of some kind, possibly for life, had we not addressed his developmental needs and behavioral issues early on. Research has shown that “Providing intensive intervention during these early years leads to a higher degree of independence and overall maximized outcomes” * which in the long run means less outlay financially for treatment and a better quality of life. I will be writing letters to oppose these cuts, and below is information if you care to take a moment and do the same. I appreciate any support that you are able to give as I continue to fight for all children and families affected by autism.

With thanks,

Missy



From Autismlink:

AutismLink has been sounding the alarm for quite a while now about Governor Corbett's potential cuts. WRAPAROUND SERVICES ARE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK. This is not a rumor -- this is real. YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SERVICES unless we stand up -- NOW. He has already taken the first step to restrict wraparound services to children under 3 who are receiving Early Intervention. I am confident in telling you that he *will* close the loophole. This is not a drill.

Please go to http://www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com/contact/ and tell Gov. Corbett -- NO CUTS FOR AUTISM!!!!!!! Flood the phone lines (717) 787-2500 with your thoughts! Or fax to your heart's content: (717) 772-8284

Governor Corbett's Budget Secretary, Charles Zogby, 238 Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120

also:
Acting Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare, Gary Alexander, 502 Health and Welfare Building, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

4 comments:

  1. *I forgot to credit my source for the quote above.
    *Stephens, Laurie. “Reinventing Quality 2010 Doing Right By People In Challenging Times.” Reinventingquality. 2006. The Help Group. 17 Feb. 2011. .

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  2. Gaahhh! Any cuts in education is highly uncalled for. How about cutting the free car and gas and spending money government officials get to travel and such!

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  3. I so appreciate your battle to make sure the needs of autistic children are honored. They have a very special place in society, and are good reminders - especially for some of those in govt., that people are individuals and have individual needs.

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  4. Betsy, thank you. With two boys on the spectrum it is a daily battle, but a battle worth fighting when I personally see the difference services make.

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