On Monday July 11, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) reached a settlement with Blue Shield of California, in which Blue Shield agreed to cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
It’s amazing how some of the most helpful ideas come from the people that actually need them the most. Just 17 years ago, my 20 year old cousin, Matthew, was diagnosed with a somewhat rare and misunderstood disorder called autism. At that time, Matthew was one of the 2,500 children in the United States with autism, which was a developmental disability that nobody in my family knew very much about. Through research and doctor’s visits we were able to find our way, but throughout his adolescence, we could only wish to receive the support, knowledge, and motivation from other families in our situation. Back then, autism diagnosis was just too few and far between for us to get the necessary resources and community involvement that we needed. It was not until Matthew was a young adult that the prevalence of autism started taking such an abrupt increase in numbers around the world, and an active autism community of families, researchers, and organizations began to take shape.