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The “spotlight” section aims to increase awareness of important community events, legislative news, and/or highlight specific person(s) with disabilities. If you or your loved one wants to tell your story, feel free to email info@AutismDiagnosticCenter.com.

In the News

In January 2009, Governor Jindal signed House Bill (HB) B 958, now known as Act 648, which requires health insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals in Louisiana less than 17 years of age. This act is HUGE and enables the hundreds of families impacted by autism. This coverage includes maximum benefits of $36,000 per year and $144,000 per lifetime. Act 648 specifically targets coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and other structured behavioral therapies, which are the most effective forms of treatment and have the best outcomes, both in behavioral outcomes and in long-term economic benefits. At our office, we provide the needed documentation for insurance reimbursement. Click here to download or view one example of sample letter used to assist parents with insurance reimbursement for a psychological diagnostic evaluation.

The Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council website has more information on the new act. This website also has downloadable “Tip Sheets” that were created to assist families filing for insurance reimbursement.

Please note that there are some restrictions to this ACT. Individually purchased health insurance policies and any health coverage plan issued to an employer with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from this legislation.

Kudos to SPONSORS OF AUTISM LEGISLATION!

  • Sen. Donald R. Cravins, Jr. (D-Lafayette) District 24
  • Rep. Patrick Williams (D-Shreveport) District 4
  • Rep. Franklin J. Foil (R-Baton Rouge) District 70



Community

We are ever so happy that Region VII Families Helping Families is “back in business.” The center is a non-profit agency with the philosophy and dedication to supporting people with disabilities and their family members to live, work, and play in our communities. It offers our community a place where families can go for help, which is provided by parents of individuals with disabilities and individuals with disabilities themselves. Check the calendar of events at their website to see the fantastic FREE events that are scheduled throughout the year. They offer information on education and educational planning (IEP), advocacy, legislation, and many other services. The new executive director is Chanel Jackson and we appreciate all of her hard work! Visit the Region VII FHF website.

 

Spotlight

I have the PLEASURE of serving a young man for several years who has Asperger’s Disorder. He has taught me so much and I think he is amazing! One of the things he has taught me is HOPE for other children. Spencer was the first child diagnosed with Asperger’s with a subsequent primary exceptionality in his IEP in the Caddo Parish school system. His parents were relentless in ensuring his needs were met, and they made much sacrifice in terms of financial, energy, time, involvement, etc….and has it ever paid off!

Spencer has matured in many ways. His strengths have been used to benefit him while he has been taught to embrace his own uniqueness while still learning to live in a world that is sometimes difficult for him to navigate. He maintains a high grade point average at a local college and he is enjoying his full life. Spencer offered to write a little about his journey with Asperger’s and don’t be surprised if you hear more on this website in the future from this amazing young man.

From the pen of Spencer:
“I sometimes forget how fortunate I am. When I was a child in elementary school the idea that I might one day be a 3.7 (GPA) student at Centenary College with a normal social life seemed very unlikely. Interpretation of events was my primary obstacle. For example, if someone bumped into me, or if I fell by accident, I would verbally lash out at the nearest person, assuming that they had pushed me intentionally. I also had no perception of how much I talked. The most important thing to me was saying what I deemed important about a topic whether my classmates were interested or not, whether I had had already answered the teacher’s question sufficiently or not. When I was told, “that’s enough,” I would respond angrily. This outburst, of course, led to being sent to the principal’s office frequently. An overwhelming fear of germs presented further problems. I would either freeze or start yelling if my pencil fell on the floor or if I saw someone pick their nose or touch the sole of their shoe. If my parents had not been able to petition the school board for a child-specific aide, these problems would have persisted throughout my secondary education. My aide was able to remove me from class when it was obvious that these behaviors would cause disruptions and explain to me what was actually occurring. Since I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder in the fourth grade, I have had ongoing therapy sessions that have helped me recognize the distortions in my perceptions and in my thinking processes. I have been taught social skills and I am still working on independent living skills. I take medication for anxiety that also helps me. I have learned to think of the other person (empathy) and I can now control impulsive behavior. I am enjoying my college years!”

 

Lagniappe

A very talented 13 year old recently was ‘commissioned’ to make several paintings for the office lobby with the instructions that the painting(s) needed to concern autism. He produced four amazing canvas paintings of abstract jig-saw puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces, of course, are a world wide autism representation, and he captured in beautifully! I will be happy to email pictures of the paintings and the young man’s contact information if anyone is interested in obtaining their own artwork from him. His name is Jack Lebas* and I urge you to remember the name as I am confident we will hear it again!

* All names and pictures used in this website have been printed with parental written consent.


 

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