UMass lit up blue

It’s Monday, April 2 and I’m waiting to deliver remarks at the “Light it Up Blue” celebration at UMass Medical School. A mom approaches me with her son and I ask him how he’s doing.

“Great” he replies with a big smile and, good eye contact. I ask him how old he is and he proudly holds up four fingers. And then he says, “When I am thirteen I want to be a teacher like Jean”, (his ABA therapist). Then his mother stepped up to me and quietly said, “I want you to know how grateful I am. You passed the autism insurance law a month before my son, (the future ABA therapist!), was diagnosed with autism. It has made such a difference in our lives”.

I reflected back to the signing of the insurance law at Fenway Park, when I said this victory was not just for the crowds assembled, but for the families who would be sitting in a doctor’s office the following day and the next. . . . receiving the diagnosis that had pierced through so many of the hearts and souls of the parents in the stands that day.

And here was that mom I’d spoken of, right in front of me, with her child who had benefited from the treatments we fought so hard for him to be able to access.

At the Autism Insurance Resource Center, the calls keep coming

In our first year, the Autism Insurance Resource Center, received over 600 calls. And as word gets around that we are there to help, the calls continue to increase.

They are people needing information; help in understanding the law; advice about dealing with insurance denials or problems with finding providers. On bad days, I feel like we should answer the phone “complaint central”. But frankly, we’re there for the problems. We help people access coverage. We help them navigate the system.

Insurance is complicated. Insurance for treatment like ABA, that’s never been covered, is even more complicated. It’s a lot of square pegs, round holes, and sometimes brick walls. But we work with people. If it’s a square peg, we try to round the edges. If it’s a brick wall, we look for a way around it.

We try to help. We think we do a good job. And when I meet a little boy who holds up four fingers and tells me he’s going to grow up to be a therapist, I know we do.

To learn more about resources for individuals on the spectrum, join us for next week’s blog. We have a lot of information we’d like to share.