Amy-Weinstock-Signing-at-FenwayThis week we are pleased to introduce guest blogger, Amy Weinstock, Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center and 2005 LEND graduate.

Learning about LEND

I first learned about LEND when one of my daughter’s therapists told me she’d have to rearrange her schedule starting the next month, because she was about to start a LEND fellowship program. At the time, I was focused on getting help for my daughter, and didn’t pay much attention to anything else.

Two years later, another therapist told me she was applying to the LEND program. This led to two realizations on my part; the first being that I had really good therapists, and the second that LEND was a pretty big deal.

A good fit

At the time, I was working in corporate banking, and had become very interested in the topic of insurance coverage, or more accurately, lack of insurance coverage, for autism treatment. My knowledge of the health care system consisted of an insurance card, a sick child, and no coverage for her treatment.

I went to the LEND website, and quickly realized that the training at LEND was exactly what I needed. My goal was to begin working on the systemic change I believed was necessary in order for families to obtain insurance coverage for autism treatment.

Although I didn’t have all of the direct pre-requisites, I applied and was invited for an interview. I left that interview more convinced than ever that LEND would be critical to my goal of merging my professional experience in the corporate world, with my personal passion to work in the disability field.

LEND education supports change

My LEND Capstone project, “Expanding Insurance Coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Treatment for Children with Autism” became the blueprint for my work over the next five years. It culminated with unanimous passage by the Massachusetts House and Senate of one of the country’s most comprehensive autism insurance bills.

The education I received at the LEND program, and the introductions to many of the leaders in the disability service and advocacy fields, was invaluable, and is a major reason people in Massachusetts affected by autism have this coverage today.

Join us next week to hear from another LEND fellow and how the program impacted their life.

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