Today, the Indiana ACT for Families coalition’s Family Friday spotlight is Rashaundra Sutton, a mother of four from Hammond, Indiana, with two sons who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Rashaundra’s sons were each diagnosed with ASD at the age of two years old. At first, she didn’t know where to turn, and looked into ABA therapy on a recommendation from their pediatrician. “I had no idea what I was going to be faced with, I didn’t know what ABA therapy was,” said Rashaundra. “But after a little bit of research, I knew this would help both of my sons.”
Since enrolling her sons at a local care center, Rashaundra’s sons get ABA therapy daily. And as they do, she is learning more about how to help her kids. “It was necessary for me to educate myself,” said Rashaundra. “Their ABA center offered a class that I could take to learn more about the ways we could help our children. That helped me tremendously.”
Breathing a Sigh of Relief
Rashaundra’s sons have shown dramatic improvements from ABA therapy. She quickly noticed that they were able to communicate better and become more independent. “ABA therapy has had a tremendous impact on not only my sons, but myself and my family,” said Rashaundra. “I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to get them into this care and gain the tools and knowledge that I needed to help them.”
ABA therapy has also helped build a strong bond between her two sons, who used to be more closed off to one other. The thought that her sons would never play together was disheartening for Rashaundra as a mom. Now, they are beginning to share their favorite toys. “Since ABA therapy, I have been able to catch them playing with each other more and I am watching them grow to become best friends.”
“I’m Shocked That They are Really Considering Cuts”
Rashaundra is shocked that the state of Indiana is considering cuts to Medicaid funding for ABA therapy. Hoosier families like hers who are impacted by autism would lose access to the quality care they need. “We are a low-income family and we really depend on Medicaid to help provide these services for my sons,” said Rashaundra. “If they take this funding away, it would all fall on me to step up and teach them all of the things that ABA is doing for them, and I am not qualified for that.”
Indiana needs to understand the true impact that would be felt statewide from a cut to ABA therapy. Without this vital support, parents will be forced to quit their jobs to take care of their children full-time, and they’ll lose the quality of care that their children need. Autism care cannot afford a funding cut.
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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