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Calls to Action

11 Annual Autism Law Summit

One habit that I've adopted over the years is to provide some sort of takeaway quote for inspiration and motivation when ending a stakeholder phone call or email. Whether you are a quote-lover like me, or a quote-loather like some, the popular, "Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much," quote from Helen Keller is one that seems to resonate.

It resonates because it’s true. Across the country every day, you will find self-advocates, siblings, parents, providers, legislators, lobbyists, attorneys and regulators working on the state level to develop policy and pass legislation that will change the future in a positive, meaningful way for individuals diagnosed with autism.

Recognizing that it would be extremely beneficial to connect in person with advocates from other states doing similar work, Lorri Unumb, now vice president of state government affairs for Autism Speaks, held the first Autism Law Summit more than a decade ago. She gathered a handful of advocates in a conference room, passing the hat for pizza money and sharing a vision that would prove to be unstoppable. At that time, autism insurance reform had not yet caught on fire. That would quickly change as advocates, armed with knowledge and a shared mission, returned to their respective states and got to work.

Fast-forward to today, and 46 states now require health plans to cover meaningful autism treatment. This includes screening and diagnosis as well as interventions for people on all parts of the spectrum – specifically, behavioral health treatments like applied behavior analysis, psychological services, psychiatric services and therapeutic services like speech, occupational and physical therapies.

This evolution has occurred simultaneously with the growth of the Autism Law Summit. In the early days, passage, implementation and enforcement of autism insurance legislation were the primary focus of the gathering. Now the agenda has expanded to include discussions on transition services, housing and the Medicaid

The upcoming 11 Annual Autism Law Summit will be the most informative and uplifting one yet! Deadline to receive the preferred room rate at the Omni is September 25. Details can be found below. Please 1) Register and 2) book your rooms today!

11th Annual Autism Law Summit
Omni San Diego Hotel
Friday/Saturday, October 27-28th
(There will be a pre-Summit workshop on October 26th from 3-6 pm PST for advocates from states who have not yet enacted legislation that requires health insurance coverage for autism/ABA.)

Discussion topics include:

  • Health insurance coverage for autism treatments, including Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Medical necessity determinations
  • Insurance billing, coding, credentialing, and contracting best practices
  • Mental health parity legal protections
  • Medicaid's Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment program
  • IDEA transition
  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • Vocational Rehabilitation laws and programs
  • Law and policies on adult services

Registration is $300 per person.
($150 if you are an individual with autism or a parent or sibling of an individual with autism.)

For more information or to register, please visit

Deadline to receive the preferred room rate at the Omni is September 25. Please register and book your rooms today!

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Judith Ursitti
Director State Government Affairs

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.