Sunday, January 24, 2010

The High Cost of Autism

Friday's New York Times features a story about the Sell family from Houston. The Sells are raising twin boys, both diagnosed with autism.

I could write for hours about the costs of autism.

The costs of autism are high. One of the costs is financial. We pay for many therapies out of pocket. There are emotional and psychological costs for the family, including the sibs. Relationships with family and friends, with the community suffer. Interaction with school districts create yet another cost of time and energy (and often money when parents provide items for the school or therapies not offered by the school that the school should be paying for).

Many children with autism are *sick*. They are in *pain*. Treat the illness and pain, and the "symptoms" of "autism" decrease. Thousands of parents have seen that happen.

There's an "anti" camp (anti-treat, anti-recover, anti-cure) with an in-your-face attitude that says we should *accept* our children as they are. I disagree with that attitude. Let's rule out pain and illness as a cause for behavior.

Here's an excerpt from the NYT article about pain and behavior:

Mr. Sell found himself fighting for such coverage for Ben, his nonverbal son. The insurance company had denied the claim for gastrointestinal testing, saying that because Ben’s behavior problems were related to autism, the testing was not covered.

Mr. Sell, convinced Ben was in pain and could not tell anyone what was wrong, appealed and won. The tests showed that Ben had ulcers and lower-intestine problems that still occasionally flare up and require treatment.

Doctors and insurance companies who refuse to look for and pay for illness are evil, discriminatory, and criminal, in my opinion.

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