HARTFORD — Accolades that come with legislation expanding insurance coverage for people with autism spectrum disorders should be directed toward parents who fought for a cause that’s crucial for so many Connecticut families, Rep. Themis Klarides said today.
Klarides joined Gov. M. Jodi Rell and a variety of other state officials Wednesday at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center here, where a ceremonial bill-signing attracted a crowd of parents and advocates of autism-related issues.
The ceremony was, at times, emotional, as parents of autistic children embraced Klarides, Rell and other elected leaders who played roles in making the legislation a reality.
Without the law, group insurance polices covered physical, speech and occupational therapy for autism as they covered other diseases and conditions. But the bill Rell signed Wednesday sets conditions for coverage of therapies and other services as well as requiring coverage of behavioral therapy for children under 14.
Advocates of the legislation say social skills, speech and language therapies are important components to helping children overcome the hurdles autism spectrum disorders present.
“It’s the courageous work of Connecticut parents that got us to this point,” said Klarides, who helped build support for the bill among her Capitol colleagues. “It’s these families that have endured the financial hardships and frustrations that come with getting their children the specialized care they need. Parents sent the letters, they made phone call after phone call. I applaud their success in breaking through every wall along this path.”