Kids vocalize approval as governor signs autism bill

I am happy to introduce Wren Newman as a guest blogger. Wren serves on the
Executive Board of Directors for Easter Seals South Florida and is Associate Dean for the Programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Communication Disorders at Nova Southeastern University. She was in the audience last week when Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a bill that could lead to early autism diagnosis and treatment for thousands of children in their state.

Kids vocalize approval as governor signs autism bill
by Wren Newman

The autism bill was signed throughout the state on Tuesday, May 20 — Lt. Gov. Jeff Kotkamp signed in Jacksonville, Ft. Myers and Pensacola. Gov. Crist signed (with former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino at his side) in Tallahassee, Orlando and Davie. I attended the signing in Davie as a Nova Southeastern University associate dean and as a South Florida Easter Seals Board member.

A story in the Tampa Tribune describes the bill this way:

Effective April 1, the bill will require large insurance group policies to cover behavioral therapies for autistic children, up to $36,000 a year, with a lifetime maximum of $200,000.

I was very happy to see so many families at the signing who are impacted by autism, along with those who have worked with those with autism over a long period of time. It was a touching ceremony all around, with kids vocalizing during the speeches and everyone exhibiting sensitivity to the children.


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  1. Wren Newman Says:

    Thanks for your posting, Katy. I’m hopeful that the insurance coverage mandate will truly support the services needed by so many. As a SLP, I know that service coverage is often denied for families and I’m hoping the insurance companies cannot find a “way out” of payment as a result of this legislation.

  2. Katy Neas Says:

    This is great news! Dozens of other states are considering legislation to help families pay for services related to autism. Easter Seals in Washington DC and in state capitals across the country are trying to get private insurance to pay for services to help people with autism live, learn, work and play in their communities.