One of the biggest challenges we have is funding.
It’s very clear that Sam needs to have several types of therapy to help his brain sort through his issues with executive function. We’ve been paying out-of-pocket for medical insurance for Jen, Zoë & Sam for more than 3 years (I was dropped from our insurance 3 years ago for having discussions with a physician about chronic shoulder pain and occasional heartburn – you know, the things we’re programmed to ‘talk to your Doctor about’) and oddly enough, the expensive insurance does NOT cover Sam’s Speech or Occupational Therapies because he has not been in an accident that resulted in brain trauma that affects his speech/communication. Autism is not recognized by our insurance and therefore, it won’t cover the things Sam needs above and beyond general care (well-check, immunizations, occasional Dr. visits).
There are several organizations and non-profit groups fighting to get reforms on the ballot that will require insurance companies to recognize Autism and to provide better coverage for the essentials. We’re hoping that the necessary initiatives get on the ballot and our whole family will be working hard to get the word out there to help the bill(s) pass!
In the meantime, we are feeling this urgency to move forward with therapies that we simply cannot afford. The urgency stems from Sam’s emerging language and changes in the way Sam is processing emotions. Suddenly, last week, we received a call from our Service Coordinator at Multnomah County Developmental Disability Services that funding for families was suddenly available. We recently lost funding during the previous allocation of funds so this time Jen jumped into action and got all the paperwork together, made tons of calls, and in less than a week we received funding for 6 Speech Therapy sessions and 6 Occupational Therapy sessions!
One thing that I am constantly aware of is how challenging the bureaucratic side of things is. How would we do all of this if we were in an even more desperate situation than we are now? How would a family that is stretched thin able to make these things happen? I’m always keeping this in the back of my mind and feeling thankful that our heads are above the water just enough to wade through it all.
So away we go! It’s going to be a very busy 6 to 8 weeks as we fill our already full schedules with these appointments. We’re so excited to work with Shelley Molinaro (MS/CCC/SLP) and equally excited that Sam will be returning to Therapy Solutions For Kids (where he first received Speech, Physical & Occupational Therapies almost 6 years ago).
We will try to post updates on each of these important forms of therapy for Sam over the next 8 weeks as we come up with clever strategies to keep the funding going beyond these 12 sessions.