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Massachusetts Bill To Add Supports For Autism

WolfNote: We're so complacent in America. We  re-active, not pro-active. We hide our heads in the sand until the wolf is through the door and lying in our beds. We kick out the wolf and then wonder where all that fur came from on the floor. I remembe when gasoline skyrocketed a few years ago; the SUVs looked garishly unpatriotic on 95, Pruises were everywhere. Gas prices stabilized and the suburban Mommies who needed a pillow to see over the steering wheel were back in the H2s, motoring to Pilates. It's the same with autism. We're barely starting to support families who area in crisis mode pretty much from diagnosis day - and this Mass bill is pretty good. But as Anne cries out daily, "WHERE IS THE REAL CONCERN OVER THE EVER GROWING TIDE OF AUTISM?" It's enough to make me want to howl. KS

By Anne Dachel

It seems that when we talk about autism it's never a crisis on the federal level.  THERE, it's just a mysterious disorder that many officials think has been unrecognized until recent decades.  The feds aren't upset that there's no known cause or cure for something affecting almost two percent of U.S. children.  This piece gives us that chilling reality about autism on the state level.  The rates for autism as said here to have skyrocketed and that these kids need services.  Currently Medicaid doesn't cover help for these children.  A representative from MA ARC calls autism "a public health crisis," something we would never hear from a CDC official.  No word on whether the governor of Massachusetts will sign the bill.  Maybe Patrick is thinking about the cost increases rather than the needs of disabled children.  If he doesn't sign, he's postponing the inevitable.  Regardless, theses children aren't going away and they're going to cost and cost and cost the state for the rest of their lives.

Aug 4, 2014 WBUR Boston, Governor Reviewing Mass. Bill That Would Expand Autism Supports

Many parents of children on the autism spectrum are celebrating passage of a bill that is among dozens already on Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk.

The bill would create a tax-free savings account for autism and disability care; would require Medicaid coverage for autism behavioral treatment; and would give thousands of residents with autism access to state disability services. Currently only those whose IQ is under 70 qualify.

Barbara L’Italien, with the advocacy group ARC of Massachusetts, has seen autism rates skyrocket since her son was diagnosed in 1990.

“It is a public health crisis,” she says. “It is something we need to wrap our arms around and be proactive about, and I think this legislation really attempts to do that.”

The costs of expanding Medicaid and disability services is not clear.

A spokeswoman says Patrick is reviewing the bill.


Why is autism called "a public health crisis," yet there's no assurances from the governor that he'll sign this bill?  One in every 68 U.S. children now has an autism diagnosis.  That's one in every 42 among boys alone. 

Officially, there's no known cause or cure for autism.  There's no way a new mother can prevent her baby that was born healthy and is developing normally from also ending up on the autism spectrum by age two.  STILL, U.S. officials have never called autism a crisis like Barbara L'Italien does here.  They still aren't sure if more children really have autism, or if it's just better diagnosing of a disorder that's always been here.  The scary truth is that a once rare disorder is now so common that everyone knows someone with an affected child and doctors can't tell us why.  The rate is based on studies of eight year olds, not eighty year olds.  No one has ever shown us a comparable rate among adults, especially adults with severe autism---where individuals can't speak, flap their hands endlessly and require constant care.  The governor of MA should really be concerned about the future cost of autism when all these children are adults and his state is footing the bill for their support and care.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism


Eileen Nicole Simon

Anne, I hope Governor Patrick signs the bill. My son’s situation is similar to what people described yesterday in response to Kim’s post on where adults with autism are expected to live. My husband and I are in our 70s. Our son will be 52 next month. He was a victim of the first wave of “deinstitutionalization” in Massachusetts. He came home to live until he was almost 30. During that time he came to the attention of the police almost daily, who finally saw that he was admitted to Westborough State Hospital.

My son’s 10 years at Westborough were most helpful. He even had paid employment at Westborough (at the Clarke Memorial Workshop) assembling and packaging various products. His favorite were bird feeders, and seeing them on sale at the doorway of the old Caldors store was an emotional moment. The bird feeders were featured as Christmas gifts.

“That’s my work!!!” he exclaimed.

At age 40 he was discharged to a “community” group home. This is where he has lived for the past 11+ years. Five years ago he ran away, and staff in Governor Patrick’s office were very helpful in finding him, 7 weeks and 2 days after his disappearance.

The group home includes a week-day Day Program of activities like music, art, even writing, but most important is the one cigarette every hour on the hour outside in a shed. A supported-work program would be more useful, but I am only reprimanded for making my suggestions...

Some of our story is in two memoirs my son and I wrote together (Memoir of Discovery and Milieu Research. See Autism and the Inferior Colliculus on or

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