Today, the Indiana ACT for Families coalition is proud to feature Kokomo, Indiana native and mother of a 2-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Chanel McClure.
When he was around nine months old, Chanel’s son first began demonstrating signs of autism, such as vocal stimming, hand posturing and feet twirling – not meeting crucial developmental milestones and regressing in others. “By 14 months old, he still wasn’t walking, waving, pointing or clapping,” she said. “I voiced my concerns to our pediatrician and after months of trying, the doctor finally recommended he get tested for autism.”
Shortly thereafter, her family’s ABA journey began at a center near their home when her son was the age of two.
The Importance of ABA
After just four months in ABA therapy, Chanel has already seen a difference in her son’s behaviors and overall mood. “When he started ABA, he never had a smile on his face, never wanted to be away from me, and never interacted with his peers,” she said. “After a short time, his social skills have already improved, he’s using utensils better and now he’s a happy, loving kid who gets excited when he’s able to communicate.”
Chanel also credits her child’s improvements to his wonderful therapists who ensure that he is achieving goals and listening to her thoughts and feelings. “They always update me on his progress, ask me what I think he should work on,” she said. “They are very attentive and listen to our wants and needs.”
“Cuts Will Be Devastating”
Chanel is extremely concerned about the potential impact Medicaid cuts could have on her son’s access and quality of care. She’s worried that the consequences of cuts will force centers to close and eliminate care for her family. “Just being able to communicate with my kid solidifies ABA for me,” she said. “It’s disheartening to hear about these reimbursement rate cuts, and it would be such a disservice to these children, I just can’t wrap my head around it.”
Chanel hopes that Governor Holcomb listens to families who are pleading for him to stop the cuts. “I just don’t understand why they would want to let down thousands of families like this,” she said. “I never thought this would happen in Indiana, so I really hope and pray that the Governor hears us.”
Indiana ACT for Families is a broad coalition of Hoosier families, ABA therapists, ABA therapy providers, and stakeholders, including The Arc of Indiana and other advocacy groups, working to advocate in support of promoting access to high quality ABA therapy services in Indiana. For more information, please visit www.IndianaACT4Families.com.
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