The Autism Society of Nebraska’s Puzzle Walk is coming up on April 23rd. April is Autism Awareness month! We’ll learn more about the event and the cause. Mary and Mike are excited to take part once again this year.
2016 CDC Incidence Report
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the incidence of autism among eight year olds in the United States remains 1 out of 68 children. This CDC report occurs every two years.
We have three key messages about today’s report:
- Each person with autism deserves a life full of dignity, value and respect. Their lives should allow them to pursue options that maximize their quality of life and value to society.
- It is important to realize these statistics represent real people who contribute to society.
- It is important to understand autism through research, but just as important to be there for the over 3 million Americans who live with autism today.
Additional information on this announcement can be found at: http://www.autismsociety.org/inthenews/autismprevalencerates/
For more information on the Study methodology go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm?s_cid=ss6302a1_w
The students of UNO’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association are committed to helping families affected by autism. For the second year, they are holding a fundraiser to benefit the Autism Society of Nebraska. UNO’s Got Talent is coming up April 15th with talent performers, raffle prizes, food and more.
Donate to UNO NSSLHA’s fundraiser here
Click here News Release ABLE
Nebraska must pay for autism services — and any other treatments deemed medically necessary — for the state’s Medicaid-eligible children, a Lancaster County judge has ruled.
In a 19-page order filed Tuesday, District Judge John Colborn found a state Department of Health and Human Services policy that excluded Medicaid coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis services, often prescribed to treat development disabilities like autism, violated federal law.
The judge also agreed to certify the case as a class action, meaning his order applies to all children in similar situations in Nebraska. And he also ordered the state to stop enforcing its unlawful policy.
A day later, the Nebraska Appleseed Center, which filed the suit on behalf of two unnamed boys now 6 and 7, hailed the decision as a big win.
“This ruling is an important victory for Nebraska families with children who have been wrongfully denied access to essential mental and behavioral health treatments that were recommended by their doctors,” said Appleseed legal director Sarah Helvey. “The court’s ruling will allow more children to get the care they need to have the best possible future.”
Asked how HHS would move forward as a result of the ruling, spokeswoman Kathie Osterman said: “I can tell you that we’re reviewing the decision and working with the Attorney General’s Office to determine our next steps.”
The state has 30 days to decide if it wants to appeal.
Helvey said Nebraska Appleseed is looking forward to working with the department “to begin covering these vital treatments immediately for the hundreds of Nebraska children who need them.”
She believes Medicaid-eligible children should be able to get the treatments immediately.
It’s been a long time coming, Helvey said.
In 2012, working with the National Health Law Program and Husch Blackwell LLP, the Nebraska Appleseed Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the two Nebraska boys against then-HHS director Kerry Winterer and Vivianne Chaumont, then director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care.
At the time, one was a 4-year-old diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, among other issues.
The other was a 3-year-old diagnosed with Pica, an eating disorder, and stereotypic movement disorder, characteristic of repetitive, purposeless movements that can cause bodily harm.
Doctors for both boys, who are from separate families and both eligible for Medicaid, had recommended treatment that included Applied Behavior Analysis services.
But Magellan Health Services, a contractor that reviews requests for mental and behavioral health treatments for Medicaid-eligible children, denied the treatments based on HHS policy.
The policy categorically excludes Medicaid coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis services and behavior modification management.
Neither of the boys got the treatment that Nebraska Appleseed staff attorney Robert McEwen said has been shown to prevent the further progression of self-injury for developmentally disabled kids and, if provided at an early enough age, can put them back on the developmental track where they started.
“It’s been a long haul for them,” McEwen said of the boys and their families, with whom he talked on Tuesday. “It was a really happy conversation.”
He said the judge was clear about coverage of services for children under Medicaid: If a service can be covered and is allowed under Medicaid, it must be covered by the state when it’s deemed medically necessary.
Moving forward, McEwen said, the decision not only will help ensure Medicaid-eligible kids in Nebraska get Applied Behavior Analysis services but also other treatments deemed medically necessary.
He called it a big step forward for Nebraska children.
Republican debate’s spotlight on autism helps raise awareness
By Miranda Christian.
OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Republican candidate Donald Trump highlighted the autism and vaccine issue at the Republican debate Wednesday night. Trump suggested that vaccines can cause autism.
Coincidentally, the next day was “The Big Give for Autism” fundraiser, held by the Autism Society of America.
The Nebraska chapter’s vice president Wendy Hamilton said that when the topic of autism appears in the national spotlight, they try to look at the positive side.
“Any publicity is good publicity. I would hope that with the conversation being made so public, people take an opportunity to say, ‘Wait a second, I think I want to look into that a little bit more,’” said Hamilton.
The vaccine debate has been around for years and Trump is bringing it back to the forefront.
“I am not here to tell people what to believe or not to believe, except educate yourself,” said Hamilton
Autism being discussed during the debate could not have come at a better time for ASA. A national all-day, online fundraiser would take place Thursday. The money raised will help the 21,000 Nebraskans who are diagnosed with autism.
“I think anytime it is brought up in conversation is good, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us giving we are doing a major fundraiser, so for that, we say thanks,” said Hamilton.
LB 591 was just passed by the legislature with a vote of 47-0 and is headed to Governor Ricketts for his signature!
Over this holiday weekend, please email the Governor and urge his support and signature of LB 591: firstname.lastname@example.org
LB 591 – Create the achieve a better life experience program and provide for adjustments to taxable income.
Public Hearing Wednesday March 11, 2015 Room 1524 2:00 PM
Join the Autism Society of Nebraska along with other organizations to encourage senators to move LB591 out of Committee and support this new bill that gives Nebraska Families a tax-free savings option for individuals with special needs.
Email your senator and urge support for this bill. The senators listed below are committee members that need to hear your voice!
Please submit your letter of support to the emails below no later than Tuesday March 10th, 2015 at noon, thanks!
Senator Lydia Brasch
Senator Davis Albert
Senator Mike Gloor
Senator Burke Harr
Senator Jim Scheer
Senator Paul Schumacher
Senator Jim Smith
Senator Kate Sullivan