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Health Needs of Autistic Children Often Unmet
Date:12/1/2008

ng autistic children is different, and it means they need 24/7 support. Which is a huge burden -- in the financial area, the educational area, and the appropriate medical-needs area."

Bono -- who currently serves on the board of "Safe Minds," a nonprofit advocacy group in Durham, N.C., focused on childhood neuro-developmental disorders -- explained how thoroughly the needs of an autistic child can alter a family's routine.

"Even if an autistic child is well enough to go to school, schools are often only half a day or so, so many parents choose to stay home so someone is there," she noted. "And many insurance plans won't cover all the things an autistic child needs, because they view the situation as a developmental disorder, not a disease. So, you have to pay huge expenses out of pocket. Otherwise, you just can't get occupational therapy. You can't get speech therapy. You sometimes can't even get basic blood work at your pediatrician. It's a real struggle."

More information

For more on autism, visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.



SOURCES: Michael D. Kogan, Ph.D., director, office of data and program development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, Md.; Laura Bono, former chair, National Autism Association, and board member, "Safe Minds," North Carolina; December 2008, Pediatrics


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