Autism Treatment Cost Help On Horizon?

A new bill requiring insurers to insure treatment for the growing number of people affected by autism was to be introduced in Congress Thursday.

Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton tells co-anchor Harry Smith that making autism treatment insurable is welcome news for parents.

For Dylan Colosimo - the signs of autism became apparent by his second birthday.

A home video shows Dylan not having a response to his birthday presents.

"He regressed and that's when I really started to get concerned," said Dylan's mother, Pam Colosimo.

Dylan's parents began early intervention and a costly therapy known as applied behavior analysis, or ABA, which measures and rewards positive behavior.

"He needs to practice skills ten times more, a hundred times more, a thousand times more than a regular child," said Pam Colosimo.

ABA is also used by teachers at Dylan's school, the Reed Academy, but 40 hours of ABA is recommended each week. So, Dylan's treatment continues at home with his family and a tutor at a cost of $2,000 a month.

"You just can't put a price on a child's life," said Pam Colosimo.

But the Colosimos out of pocket expenses may soon be covered by insurance. Twenty-four states have legislation to make health insurers responsible for certain autism treatments. Eight states have already made such coverage mandatory.

"Dylan may not get substantially better. He may not recover as some people might say ... " Dylan's father, Rick Colosimo said. " ... but I know without ABA, he absolutely wouldn't. He wouldn't have a real future."



For more on autism issues and to access autism resources, go to the Web site of AutismSpeaks.
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