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On the Road: High Gear for 2014

Approximately three dozen state legislatures go into session this month, so the Autism Speaks Advocacy Team is in high gear!  As such, it’s time to resume our “On the Road to Autism Insurance Reform” blog, to keep you up to date on our trials and travels.

But first, I have to share one of my favorite holiday photos – a picture with our State Government Affairs team in front of the Christmas tree!  I love the folks with whom I work, and we all feel blessed to spend our days advocating on behalf of autism families all over the country.  It was great to throw on blue jeans and spend a little time with the team over the holidays.

At Autism Speaks, one focus of our advocacy agenda is to pass autism insurance legislation that requires coverage for commonly-recommended autism treatments, including Applied Behavior Analysis.  Over the last 5 years, we have been blessed to partner with some great ABA providers who work with our kids day-in and day-out.  In recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with a number of ABA provider organizations to talk about autism insurance reform.  In Connecticut, I spoke about autism insurance at an all-day training program called “50 Shades of Behavior Analysis: An Obsession with Excellence,” hosted by the Connecticut Center for Child Development.  In Baltimore, I spoke to the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis (MABA), where I met lots of wonderful folks like Crystal Thomas and Deeannah Taylor, from the Kennedy Krieger Institute (pictured below).

I had the rare pleasure of speaking in my home state of South Carolina to the South Carolina Association of Behavior Analysts (SCABA) annual meeting in Charleston.  

And I spoke to the New York State Association of Behavior Analysts (NYSABA) at their annual conference in Saratoga Springs.  

The NYSABA folks were all a-twitter about the pending New York bill to create licensure for behavior analysts.  It was a thrill to be with my New York friends (and many others) earlier this month at the Council for Autism Services annual conference in Las Vegas, where we celebrated Governor Cuomo’s signature of the New York licensure bill on January 10th!  

New York becomes the 14th state to offer a state-sponsored license or certification for behavior analysts. I view the profesionalization of the behavior analysis community as a good thing for consumers of ABA, including autism families.

I’m looking forward to the annual convention of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) in March 27-29 in New Orleans.  For the 4th year, Autism Speaks is partnering with APBA on a full-day workshop  on autism insurance implementation issues.  To learn more about our insurance workshop or the conference, go here.

See you on the road soon!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.