Posts Tagged ‘ABA therapy in California’

By Shannon Penrod

You’ve probably heard of  six degrees of separation, the idea that supposes that we are all only six people away from anyone on earth.  I prefer the expression of being only “three phone calls away from the president”.  This is great party conversation, “Which one of your friends would you call first if you needed to get to the president in only three phone calls?”  It’s one of those riddles that can keep you up late at night.  Who would you call?  It’s a fun little brain teaser and for most of us not something we need to actually attempt.  But the other day in what can only be described as an “I love Lucy moment of clarity” I had an idea, an idea that refuses to go away.   I find myself in the unique position of needing to figure out who my three phone calls are – but not to the President, to the  First Lady!

I am a Mom, more poignantly I am an “Autism Mom”.  I am one of the millions of Moms around the globe who wakes up every morning and immediately steps on to the front lines of the war against Autism.  I am one of the lucky Moms, because in my home we are winning the battle.  I say that with pride, jubilation and guilt because I know that there are Mom’s all over this wonderful country who haven’t had access to our miracle.  Even worse,  there are people all over the world who don’t know what is possible when it comes to treating Autism.  They don’t even know what to ask for. 

Those of us who have seen the return of our children, who have seen the progress that is nothing short of miraculous, know that a change must come.  We know that schools are desperate for information that can change the face of Autism.  We know that it’s possible to rescue our children, we just need the right person to see it and believe it with us.  I believe that person is Michelle Obama.

So I had my “Lucy” moment and thought – “Invite the First Lady to see what’s possible!”  And I instantly knew where I want to take her. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year.  As part of a celebration of 20 years of research and recovery there will be a gala event in Los Angeles on September 25th.  It is now my personal goal to get Michelle Obama to willingly attend this event so she can see first hand what is possible when we give our children with Autism what they need.  Of course the President is welcome as well, but I believe that a woman with a fire in her belly is capable of anything and that is who I believe Michelle Obama to be.

Now I only have one problem!  Who are my three phone calls?  I never thought I would have to do this for real!  I definitely need some help.  If you know someone who knows someone…be one of my phone calls and help me to persuade the First Lady to attend this important event!

I frequently think of how polio was viewed in my mother’s childhood  versus today.  I hope that someday we can look back at Autism and think of it as something that a different generation had to cope with.  Wouldn’t that be remarkable? 

Shannon Penrod is the host of the weekly radio show Everyday Autism Miracles on www.toginet.com  Free podcasts of the show can be downloaded on the show page www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles or on iTunes

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by Shannon Penrod

Have you ever just been moving along in a direction, happy go lucky when out of the blue something so devastating comes along that it has the ability to completely decimate all your hard work and progress. This was my day yesterday. It started with a phone call suggesting I check my email. I have a son who is recovering from Autism. He receivesABA therapy in our home from a group of super talented therapists, our service provider is CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders). The therapy is paid for by our local regional center. Here in California we are truly fortunate that children with Autism can receive these services for free. There is a lengthy application process, a long waiting period, tons of restrictions and mountains of paperwork before you can receive the therapy. It doesn’t matter – it’s worth it.

When my son was almost two we noticed that he gradually started speaking less and less, and he became harder and harder to reach – It was a nightmare that ended in a diagnosis of Autism. It took us six months to be able to receive ABA, we tried other therapies in the meantime, with little or no progress. Then CARD came to our home and everything changed. Everything!

Long story short – Miracles happen in my living room on a daily basis. All because of this therapy.

And yesterday we found out that The California State Board of Education has decided to change the criteria for ABA therapists with no warning and no transition period. The result if allowed will be devastating. Not a single member of my son’s talented team of therapists meets the new requirements. It is estimated that over 70% of the ABA therapists in the State of California do not meet the requirements. They could with some time but that is not current allowed for. As of October 1st if nothing changes my son and thousand of other children in California will not receive therapy. Devastating. Unthinkable. Unacceptable.

If you have a child on the Autism Spectrum, if you know a child on the spectrum, if you are just a person with a voice who believes what DR. Suess said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Please pick up your pen today and write to:

Deb Strain, Rulemaking Coordinator
California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 319-0155

mark you comment
URGENT: Comment to proposed rulemaking: Regarding Non-Public Schools and Agencies; proposed changes to Title 5 CCR Section 3065; Board of Education meeting September 2008, Agenda Item No. 13

Your comments will only be received until September 30th. Let them know that you are a concerned citizen and a tax payer and you won’t stand for this!

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