“A few months ago, I thought we had lost her,” said Lila’s mom, Melinda Brown. “She didn’t care about Bill and I or the rest of the world. You couldn’t get her to engage. After we started therapy, she made eye contact. That was a big emotional thing.”
Bill Brown said that he wants to raise some money to make therapeutic toys for kids available to therapists to give to families. He is holding a sale through the end of this month at his shop, Custom Reef Creations, at 2604 N. Moore Ave. in Moore with a portion of the revenue going toward therapeutic toys for children in Oklahoma. Brown said Lila’s Sooner Care therapist taught them what toys are appropriate and taught the family how to play with them with Lila. He said most of them are cheap, simple toys, but there are families that can’t afford to buy them and for Lila the toys have been key to her improvements.
There are still many questions of what the future holds. The challenges that come with autism spectrum disorder are hard on families and therapy comes at a high price tag.
The services in Oklahoma for children with autism are slim after they age out of Sooner Start.
Some hope may be on the horizon in form of the Affordable Care Act. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services most insurance plans must now cover autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months because of the Affordable Care Act — with no out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes many important benefits and protections that address the health care needs of those with autism. Insurers are no longer allowed to exclude anyone with autism or charge more based on this pre-existing condition. Also, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26.