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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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County families support autism bill
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This is Noah, the autistic son of Amy Trail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer

Several Franklin County families will join with others from across Virginia for a rally in Capitol Square in Richmond on Thursday to build support for a bill to require insurance companies to cover the treatment of autism.

Among those traveling to Richmond are Lavada Robertson and Amy Trail, both of whom have autistic children.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) and Del. David Poisson (D-Sterling) are sponsoring the bill.

According to Marshall, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission concluded that health insurance coverage of autism treatment is necessary.

An estimated 10,000 families in Virginia have an autistic child. Many of the families said they have faced financial hardship to provide treatment and therapy for their children. Many others are forced to delay treatment for autism because they said that insurance companies exclude medically-needed services.

Nine other states have passed legislation similar to that being considered in Virginia.

Lavada Robertson, the mother of an autistic child in Franklin County, said the Rally for Autism in Richmond on Thursday will include speeches by legislative leaders, as well as advocates from across Virginia who believe that early intervention treatments for autism need to be covered by insurance.

The General Assembly session, which is expected to be dominated by state finances, begins Wednesday.

Several House members have joined as co-sponsors of the bill by Marshall and Poisson.

The Senate will consider a companion bill sponsored by Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester).

Robertson said the Franklin County Board of Supervisors has expressed support for the bill.

Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin County) and State Sen. Robert Hurt (R-Chatham) are being urged to support the bill.

The Rocky Mount Town Council has also voted to support the bill.

In addition, Fairfax City, Loudon County and Leesburg have passed resolutions supporting the mandate.

"Our children deserve just as good (health insurance) coverage as the next child," Robertson said. "The therapies that they require is specialized for their needs specifically."

Robertson said health insurance companies won't pay for the treatment of autism.

"Many of the parents I am affiliated with are still fighting and begging for someone to help them receive the services that our children require," she said.

According to a 2007 Center for Disease Control study, approximately one out of every 150 children in the United States has an autism-related disorder.Several Franklin County families will join with others from across Virginia for a rally in Capitol Square in Richmond on Thursday, Jan. 15 to build support for a bill to require insurance companies to cover the treatment of autism.

Among those traveling to Richmond are Lavada Robertson and Amy Trail, both of whom have autistic children.

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) and Del. David Poisson (D-Sterling) are sponsoring the bill.

According to Marshall, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission concluded that health insurance coverage of autism treatment is necessary.

An estimated 10,000 families in Virginia have an autistic child. Many of the families said they have faced financial hardship to provide treatment and therapy for their children. Many others are forced to delay treatment for autism because they said that insurance companies exclude medically-needed services.

Nine other states have passed legislation similar to that being considered in Virginia.

Lavada Robertson, the mother of an autistic child in Franklin County, said the Rally for Autism in Richmond on Thursday will include speeches by legislative leaders, as well as advocates from across Virginia who believe that early intervention treatments for autism need to be covered by insurance.

The General Assembly session, which is expected to be dominated by state finances, begins Wednesday.

Several House members have joined as co-sponsors of the bill by Marshall and Poisson.

The Senate will consider a companion bill sponsored by Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Winchester).

Robertson said the Franklin County Board of Supervisors has expressed support for the bill.

Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin County) and State Sen. Robert Hurt (R-Chatham) are being urged to support the bill.

The Rocky Mount Town Council has also voted to support the bill.

In addition, Fairfax City, Loudon County and Leesburg have passed resolutions supporting the mandate.

"Our children deserve just as good (health insurance) coverage as the next child," Robertson said. "The therapies that they require is specialized for their needs specifically."

Robertson said health insurance companies won't pay for the treatment of autism.

"Many of the parents I am affiliated with are still fighting and begging for someone to help them receive the services that our children require," she said.

According to a 2007 Center for Disease Control study, approximately one out of every 150 children in the United States has an autism-related disorder.

 
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