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Kansas families seeking treatment options for their children with autism

Kansas families, who have children with autism, may have a hard time finding places for their children to thrive.

After Jill and Eric received their son Ridley’s autism diagnosis, they immediately reached out to treatment providers: “but even then, it was a struggle.”

Early behavioral intervention plays an important role in the development of children with autism, but it comes at a price: “there was a fifty dollar copay everyday, and he’s supposed to have therapy five days a week.”

They were placed on waitlist along with many other families.

“Not everyone can access that sort of treatment because of the cost, and if their insurance company does cover applied behavioral analysis often times there’s a waiting list,” An Assistant Professor of Special Education at KU, Jason Travers told 6News.

“It was definitely very frustrating, scary, and kind of made you feel hopeless, like what can I do if there is no access to services whether or not we have the money.”

Lawrence pediatrician Kristen Evans says Kansas falls short in terms of options and funding: “we have families who leave the state because they can get better services elsewhere.”

“there are other states who fully fund autism services, there’s not the long waiting list.”

Treatment options like Easterseals Capper Foundation, currently have 108 children on their waitlist: “funding is important to back these programs as well as to encourage families to seek outstanding providers.” Linda Burgen, director of autism services at easterseals capper foundation said.

“the biggest thing is we need funding,” Kirsten said.

Jill says helping kids with early intervention is just the cost benefit: “if you help the kids early on they will be able to learn those skills that will last their whole lifetime.”

Easterseals Capper Foundation says children’s access to early behavioral analysis is important for a better long term outcome. But without proper state funding, there aren’t enough providers to help everyone in need.

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