Do you know someone who demonstrates remarkable advocacy for an individual or
group of individuals with autism spectrum disorders? Nominate them for the Autism
Society of Nebraska – Autism Advocate Award. Nominations are due by March 20, 2015. You can find more information on ASN Autism Advocate Award 2015 Application
A scholarship of up to $500 is available this year for an individual with a diagnosis of
ASD. The scholarship must be used toward completing an accredited post-secondary
course of study (educational or vocational). The Scholarship will be awarded at the ASD State Conference on Thursday April 9, 2015.
More details on the scholarship and the 2015 Dan Archwamety Scholarship Form. All scholarship applications must be postmarked no later than March 20, 2015.
President Obama on Friday signed into law the Achieving a Better Life Experience(ABLE) Act which will allow families with children with disabilities to save for college and other expenses in tax-deferred accounts. The legislation was co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC). The ABLE Act, first introduced in 2008, amends the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Families will be allowed to use the funds in the savings accounts to cover education, housing, medical and transportation expenses, among others. Now that the President has signed the bill into federal law, it will be up to the individual states to enact the bill. Until now, families with children with disabilities had little incentive to save for their future. If they saved more than $2,000 for college, an apartment or transportation to work, they risked losing critical benefits for their children, including medical and supplemental coverage. This piece of legislation is an important step toward empowering people with disabilities to achieve independence and affirms self-sufficiency.
The Autism Society is proud of our affiliate network and advocacy organizations across the country that took a leadership role in advocating for this bill and for all people with disabilities.
ABLE Act Passes in the House Continue reading
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Autism prevalence rates. Here’s a quick look at the data:
*1 in 68 children
*1 in 42 males
*Boys diagnosed at a rate nearly 5x that of girls
*Most children not diagnosed until after age 4
*An estimated 1.2 million people under age 21
(Data for this study is based on health provider and educational records.)
For more information, here is a link to the CDC’s report.
Click here to read the Autism Society of America Press Release
Feel free to copy and paste or just use parts!
Dear Senator _____________,
LB505 will come out of committee on Tuesday, April 1. I ask for your vote in support of this critical legislation when it comes to the floor.
The autism community and all three major insurers in Nebraska have agreed to the language of this bill. We understand the scope and limitations of LB 505 and we strongly support its passage.
We believe this legislation will affect almost 900 children with autism. Without your support of LB 505, insurance companies will continue to deny coverage for medically necessary autism treatments for these 900 children. Without your support of LB 505, many of these children will never speak. They will never have a meaningful relationship. They will never go to college or get a job. Without your support of LB 505 most of these children will require intensive special education and be dependent on a lifetime of state-funded adult disability support services.
Some legislators have noted that future changes to the ACA may include the addition of autism treatments. This may come and we will continue to lobby our federal legislators. But today we are asking you, the members of the Nebraska Legislature, to help those children who are within your power to help by passing LB 505.
If you’re concerned about the cost of enacting LB505, don’t. Thirty-four other states have enacted laws similar to LB 505. Actual claims data from states whom were among the first to enact such legislation show the average cost of coverage is 31 cents per member per month.
The cost of not providing appropriate treatment to individuals with autism has been estimated to be $3.2 million per child over their lifespan (Ganz, 2007). Much of this expense is associated with intensive special education, adult disability services and decreased productivity.
Failure to enact LB 505 is the high cost option.
Some legislators have expressed reservations about supporting LB 505 because it is a mandate and they are opposed to mandates. . Every law the legislature enacts is a mandate that our elected officials deem appropriate for the protection and betterment of Nebraska’s citizens.
LB 505 is a mandate that will afford access to medically necessary treatment for children with autism while saving the state millions of dollars per child in special education and adult disability supports. LB 505 is a win-win proposition for Nebraska.
The prevalence of autism as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now 1 in every 88 children. This represents a 1,000 fold increase in the past forty years. Autism is an epidemic and a public health crisis. Please pass LB 505.