Arkansas Governor signs autism bill for children needing therapy - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas Governor signs autism bill for children needing therapy

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - Tuesday morning in Little Rock, Governor Mike Beebe signed a bill into law that will change the lives of families living with autism.  The legislation requires private insurers to provide coverage for autistic children. 

"Families shouldn't have to wait.  They should be able to get the treatment that is most research proven," said Dayna Miller.

Miller's son, Briar, was diagnosed with autism when he was three.  Knowing he needed Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, she and her family sacrificed to make it possible.  She went back to school and opened up the "SPARC" clinic in Jonesboro, helping other children.

"You have a lot of moms and dads that want to provide the best treatment but just cannot financially do it," said Miller.

The law signed Tuesday morning by Governor Beebe will open the window that has been closed for so many families.  Miller said Act 196 will require group insurance companies to cover autism treatment.  Briar and his family have made a lot of trips to Little Rock to talk to legislators about the need for this law.

"Every kid with autism can get the same treatment that I had, ABA therapy, without having to pay $50,000 from their mothers," said Briar Miller.

Dayna Miller said insurance has covered things like limited speech therapy and physical therapy, but will now include the ABA therapy for children up to 18-years-old that has made a huge difference in her son.

"Only if you have a child with autism or if you work with them, will you understand how this will change a family's life," said Miller.

Seeing her son standing next to the governor as he signed the law was a day Miller never expected to see happen, not only for Briar but for children across the state.

"For a minute I feel like I was having an out of body experience and I felt like I was in a dream," said Miller.

Under this law, the cap for insurance coverage of autistic children is set $50,000.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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