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Georgia finally puts autism in focus
State law adding insurance coverage is just first step toward better understanding of condition
Challenged Child and Friends students don blue Thursday for World Autism Awareness Day. This year marks the eighth annual World Autism awareness day in which autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.
After seven years of largely fruitless efforts, autism awareness advocates have finally convinced the Georgia General Assembly to take a small step toward recognizing what Rep. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, has called “a public health crisis in all our communities.” On Thursday, the last day of the legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 429, which mandates insurance coverage for autism treatment for children ages 6 and under with a $30,000 cap and limits on the size of businesses that would have to provide it. While this signals some small progress in the fight against autism in younger children, legislators continue to ignore the larger issue of the long-term impact that older children and adults with autism are going to have on families, schools, social services and the taxpayers.