“My concerns were kind of brushed under the rug,” Marcus said. “Prior to the diagnosis I knew they were autistic [so] it wasn’t a complete shock, but it was still gut-wrenching.”
Marcus said she found support through Autism in Bartow, which connects family, friends, educators and health care providers whose lives are touched by someone diagnosed along the autism spectrum.
“For me I think support is the No. 1 thing,” Marcus said. “We tend to put on a brave face so people don’t know how hard it is. It’s not an easy task.”
The Centers for Disease Control reported autism now affects 1 in 50 children.
More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined and according to the Harvard School of Public Health, the incremental cost of caring for someone with autism over their lifetime is $3.2 million.
Autism Speaks, a global science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding autism research and raising awareness, reported families in the state are “routinely denied” coverage for “evidence-based treatments,” which are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. surgeon general and have proven success through research. This often leaves families who pay health insurance premiums to pay for treatment out of pocket, or in some cases, forego treatment altogether.
Also known as applied behavioral therapy, these treatments are the best course of action for improving the quality of life for someone with autism Marcus said.
Autism in Bartow is hosting a rally Thursday to raise awareness for Ava’s Law, which would require state-regulated health plans to provide coverage for the evaluation, assessment, testing, screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders using evidence-based practices.
Ava’s Law was named for Ava Bullard, whose mother Ann fought to have evidence-based treatment for her daughter. The Bullards will be at the rally, which will be held at Cartersville Medical Center in Classroom No. 1 at 7 p.m. to tell their story. Families also can learn about medical treatment available for autism.
Information: (770) 851-0206 or www.autisminbartow.org.