A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Friday, December 21, 2012

We Need Your Help...Sign to Add ABA Therapy Under the Affordable Care Act

We’ve reached 2,000 signatures. But we cannot reach our goal without yours. 

Please join the autism community in signing the petition to add ABA therapy under the Affordable Care Act. 

Click this link to sign it now: http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo 

This petition urges Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to specify that applied behavior analysis (ABA) is part of the essential health benefits in the Affordable Care Act. Without further guidance from Secretary Sebelius, each state will decide whether ABA-based treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is covered as a behavioral health treatment.




After you sign the petition right now, urge others to do the same.

Feel free to copy and paste the following posts to your social media pages weekly, along with the attached image:

Facebook (2 different posts)

Sign Petition to Mandate ABA Therapy Under the Affordable Care Act! Click here - http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo
This petition urges Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to specify that applied behavior analysis (ABA) is part of the essential health benefits in the Affordable Care Act.  This petition seeks to protect the existing healthcare benefits of individuals with ASD and to enhance the benefits for individuals who live in a state that doesn’t require insurance carriers to provide coverage for ABA-based treatment for ASD.


Families Unite! Sign the petition to add ABA Therapy under Affordable Care Act  - http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo
This petition urges Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to specify that applied behavior analysis (ABA) is part of the essential health benefits in the Affordable Care Act.  Without further guidance from Secretary Sebelius, each state will decide whether ABA-based treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is covered as a behavioral health treatment.


Twitter (5 different posts)

Sign the petition to add ABA therapy under Affordable Care Act  - http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo

Did you sign the petition to add ABA therapy under Affordable Care Act? Sign now – http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo

Families with children with autism unite! Sign the petition to add ABA therapy under Affordable Care Act  - http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo

Time is running out! Sign petition to add ABA therapy under Affordable Care Act – http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo

We can’t do this without you - SIGN petition to add ABA therapy under Affordable Care Act – http://tinyurl.com/d5nftgo


Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ACT Today! Reports Second Half of 2012 Grant Distribution,


ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide access to care and treatment to children with autism, announces in the second half of 2012, ACT Today! issued 105 grants totaling $86,200 to children with autism. The Eddie Guardado Foundation, a partnership formed with ACT Today! in January 2011, funded 42 of the grants for assistive technology and medical support. 
“The amazing community and corporate support has made it possible for ACT Today! to help an additional 105 families,” says ACT Today!’s Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson. “Autism is an epidemic, and many families cannot afford the necessary tools their children need to reach their highest potential. ACT Today! is working hard to ensure those who need access to care and treatment receive it. We can’t do it alone and urge the community to join us in our mission by making a donation at www.act-today.org.”

In the past five years, ACT Today! has helped 846 families and has distributed $980,671 in grants for behavioral therapy, medical care, assistance for military families with children with autism, assistance dogs, social skills programs, special needs schools, special needs camp, assistive technology, and basic safety equipment.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making ASD more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer and pediatric AIDS combined. Research shows families of children with autism make $18,000 or 28% less than average. For more information about ACT Today!, visit www.act-today.org.

About ACT Today!:
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing treatment services and support to families of children with autism who cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit: www.act-today.org.

About The Eddie Guardado Foundation: 
Major League All-Star Pitcher, Eddie Guardado and his wife Lisa established The Eddie Guardado Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) in 2008 after the Guardado’s daughter was diagnosed with autism.  Lisa and Eddie understand the emotional and financial hardships families impacted with autism experience and founded the Eddie Guardado Foundation to help other families receive access to therapy and treatments that they could not otherwise afford. In January 2011, the foundation merged with ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment) as both non-profits share the mission of providing awareness of and access to effective therapies for children with autism.  Lisa and Eddie Guardado now serve on the ACT Today! board of directors.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ACT Today! Discusses Newton Shooter Whose Family Says Suffered from Asperger's

The family of the 20-year-old who killed 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., said he suffered from Asperger's Syndrome. KCAL9's Serene Branson speaks with ACT Today!'s Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let’s ACT Today! Believe in Miracles!



HELP CRISCENT... 

Criscent is a nine-year old boy diagnosed with autism and currently living in California with his aunt and uncle. He was BEATEN and TORTURED in his home country of Uganda. His family can not afford to provide Criscent with treatment for his autism. 

Text ACTTODAY to 20222 on your mobile phone today to donate $10 - OR make a donation online at http://www.act-today.org/SOSIt’s tax deductible.

Let’s ACT Today! Believe in Miracles!


Have you stopped believing in miracles? Sometimes I find myself guilty of cynicism and loss of hope. Recently, I rediscovered my belief in miracles due to one remarkable family.

My church, Prince of Peace Episcopal in Woodland Hills, Ca., has a Ugandan Ministry, where we support a school and orphanage in that country, and we have several Ugandan members of our congregation.  Our minister, Father Rand Reasoner, has always encouraged me to share my work as an advocate and activist in the autism world as well as our journey with our son with autism, Wyatt.

Not long ago, I was approached after service by a local couple originally from Uganda named Michael and Pross Bahinyoza. They told me a story of their nephew, Criscent, age 9, who lived in a village in Uganda.  I was shocked and saddened by what I heard.
They shared with me that their innocent young nephew had been badly beaten on many occasions due to his habit of wandering (common with children with autism) into villager’s homes where he was mistaken for a burglar stealing on behalf of the family.  Furthermore, he was considered a “bad omen”, and locked up at school like an animal, given no help or treatment. Michael and Pross told me that if he did not get help here in America, he would surely die.

After learning about the symptoms of autism, they realized their nephew Criscent showed all the signs of having it, and had the family take him to the nearest city, Kampala, where he was diagnosed with the disorder by a neurologist in Kampala. I knew that if we could get Criscent to this country, we could get him the care and treatment he needed through a grant with ACT Today!

Letters were written to the Ugandan Embassy, and Pross and Michael were able to bring their nephew here, along with his father and sister.  It did not matter to Michael and Pross that they would be sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with 8 family members, including their own severely disabled 6-year-old daughter Melissa, still in diapers and a wheel chair. What mattered to them was they had hope for the nephew they loved and the chance for not only a better life for him, but his very survival.

Criscent and Melissa both received a full assessment from CARD, (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) through a grant from ACT Today! A special education advocate was found for both children who will work to make sure they have everything they need to realize their full potential, funded by our church. Other non-profits have stepped forward to help.

Through it all, this remarkable family has shown gratitude and humility that has touched everyone who has met them and shown us that helping others in need can bring joy and comfort to us all, “You cannot know heaven until you have experienced hell” Michael said to me one day.  They believe a miracle has happened in the lives of their nephew and daughter, due to the generosity of others. One look at the happy face of a little boy named Criscent shows that miracles can come true.

Love,
Nancy

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ACT Today! Launches New Program to Help Individuals with Autism Facing Crisis Situations





ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism, announces the launch of ACT Today! SOS, a new program aimed to address the urgent needs of those impacted with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  

“We understand some individuals on the autism spectrum are in immediate and personal danger or harm and are unable to wait up to 12 weeks for a response to their ACT Today! grant request,” says Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, ACT Today!’s executive director. “The ACT Today! SOS program is designed to provide immediate support for families based upon need and the program funds available.”

To qualify for an ACT Today! SOS grant, applicants must have an immediate need for treatment or support and if treatment is not found, the applicant’s physical safety is in jeopardy. ACT Today! SOS will fund effective treatments and services to treat ASD and will not fund living expenses, travel, utilities or clothing. Income level of the applicant’s family must be below $45,000 per year and the applicant may not have received support from ACT Today! within the past 12 months. 

There are currently three families on the ACT Today! SOS wait list. 

The Maroni family of New Jersey has three children on the autism spectrum. The fence around their home was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The chances are now greater for the three children to run away, or “wander,” a common trait with children with autism. 

Criscent is a nine-year old boy diagnosed with autism and currently living in California with his aunt and uncle. He was beaten and tortured in his home country of Uganda. His aunt and uncle cannot afford to provide Criscent with treatment for his autism. 

Elijah is a four-year old boy from Iowa. He suffers from severe autism and needs a padded safety bed to prevent concussions caused by seizures and head banging. 

“We are sending out an SOS and asking the community to help us help these families and others like them who are in dire need,” says Alspaugh-Jackson. “Starting this week, we will launch the ACT Today! SOS social media campaign, calling on the online community to make a donation, either by texting or on our website.” 

For more information about ACT Today! SOS and the requirements, visit www.act-today.org/SOS


About ACT Today!:
ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing treatment services and support to families of children with autism who cannot afford or access the necessary tools their children need to reach their full potential. For more information about ACT Today!, visit: www.act-today.org.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Online Video Series Showcases Portraits of Hope for Families of Children with Autism

Friends, there's a new online video series called "Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope" that showcases stories of families affected by autism.

The stories are truly amazing and I hope, like me, you will appreciate these stories as well are work to raise autism awareness and the need for effective autism treatments.

Watch "Mission Possible: Portraits of Hope" with me at:



Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Case of the Picky Eater


By Guest Blogger, Nicole Lindstrom
Author of Simply Happenstance Blog


This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving with both sides of the family. It was great to be able to do this, as my husband has been on shift the past three years.

I love being able to visit with everyone. It is a nice time to catch up with what is new in their lives, as well as getting to know the newer, and soon to be, new additions of the family. All wonderful things to be thankful for.

It is all grand until it is time to sit down for the meal…..

The part in which I dread the most. My palms sweat and it is time to answer the question,

“What is Mason eating for dinner, where is his plate?”

Uh oh….

The dreaded picky eater…..

My son is a picky eater and has been for the majority of his life. He is like most kids on the Autism Spectrum, that crave routine and predictability. This trait goes hand-in-hand with some children that also have a sensory processing disorder. The sensory component means that he will eat the same few meals over and over again without a huge fuss.

I know what you think… the kid won’t starve, but he will, as it is part of this disorder.

Textures and smells create sensory stop signs for these kids. Loud full houses and having to sit for extended periods of time is extremely hard for a child who has a hard time sitting in school, let alone a crowded dinner table

{I myself get overwhelmed after being around too much noise for an extended period}.

More often than not, it is a battle in which their behavior goes from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.

Believe me I have tried it all… heard it all, but I know as a Mom that we worked very hard with our son and that this is the smaller piece to a very large puzzle.

As per Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske’s book RAISING A SENSORY SMART CHILD, if a child has food related issues try to avoid food related battles at the family meal and focus instead on pleasure of the company {this book is amazing for any child}.

We see an Occupational Therapist for help with Mason’s SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER and with his eating behaviors {thank goodness for Wayne Centra at KARATE FOR ALL}.

Yes I would love to be that mother whose child eats all of my homemade food and I wish I could say my son loves all of his basic food groups, but that is something that I know is in the far off distance… a work in progress. I know that a special gluten free and casein free diet works for some children on the Autism Spectrum, but Mother knows best {well with the support of an educated therapist… wink wink}

I am just happy that my child is eating food. It may be considered processed and babysitter like, but it is what is. Luckily I am able to sneak in nutrients in places where I can.

For now I will be happy for the progress he has made and the obstacles we have overcome, for they have been great… if not amazing!

So when we pull up a seat at a table please don’t ask, “Is that what he is eating?”

For I am thankful for the boy he is, and not for how I would like the situation to be.