We are really excited that the North Carolina House has passed HB 498, which would require insurance to pay for autism services. Click here to read more about the bill and its passing. It moves on soon to the NC Senate, and we're hoping to get overwhelming passage there too!
Please consider writing to your NC representatives thanking them for their support, and to your NC senator to ask for their support of this bill. The following is a letter Alicia (Grotto parent) wrote to Representative Chuck McGrady, who was instrumental in helping this bill go through. Below, you can also find links to take action.
Dear Representative McGrady,
As a mother of a child affected by autism and one of your Henderson County constituents, I want to take the time to personally thank you for sponsoring the autism insurance reform bill that was recently passed. Currently, my son, Danny, receives behavioral therapy through the St. Gerard House and my family pays for the services out of pocket. While the St. Gerard House offers high quality therapy at a deeply discounted cost, it is still a financial burden and without the help of our extended family, I don’t know if Danny would be able to receive this therapy.
The applied behavioral analysis therapy that my son has received has changed our lives. Perhaps you met my son, a sweet brown-eyed six year old, when you recently toured the St. Gerard House. If you did meet him, you probably saw a happy, energetic little boy who is still struggling with communication and social skills. While Danny is still clearly affected by autism, the son I have now is vastly different from the son I had before he began receiving ABA therapy. When Danny started at the St. Gerard House, he had no speech, he was not potty trained and he had frequent tantrums that would sometimes last for hours. He could be aggressive and he generally seemed miserable. My biggest fear before ABA was that there would come a time where I would not be able to handle Danny and I would have to institutionalize my son. There were days where I did not want to get out of bed. There were days that I was panicked by the thought of my son growing older and bigger.
Today, these fears are gone. With the help of ABA, Danny is now generally a happy child. He is slowly beginning to acquire more and more words. The sound of his sweet little voice saying “Mama” is something I never believed I would hear and every time he speaks, I am reminded of the miracle of ABA therapy. Every little bit of improvement gives me strength to continue the fight for my son and while it is far from over, I feel like ABA and the St. Gerard House has given my son a chance. A chance to live a life not too different from the one I imagined 6 and a half years ago when my newborn son was placed in my arms for the first time. ABA and the St. Gerard House has changed Danny’s story from one of tragedy and disappointment to one of triumph and hope. If this bill is made into law, it will help my family continue to provide my son with the best therapy for autism and open the doors for other families to receive this life changing therapy.
As a mother, as a voter, as your constituent, I deeply thank you for fighting for Danny and the other children like him. With ongoing therapy, perhaps my son will one day have the ability to thank you himself.
With Deepest Regards
Alicia Ballard Westbrook
Alicia Ballard Westbrook
It’s super easy to write to your representatives and senator!
1. Go to http://bit.ly/110wAi3
Or, visit www.autismvotes.org and click on State Initiatives, NC, then the red TAKE ACTION box.
2. You’ll have to enter your contact information, which will populate the correct representatives and senators for your district.
3. On the next page, will be fields with a generic email to each of the representatives and senators for you to review and edit. You can send them as-is, or you can add, change, or delete from that email (you can see in Amanda’s letter below – she chose to keep the pre-populated information, but add a paragraph of her own).
4. Click submit – that’s it!
Thank you for your help!