AUSTIN, TX – While many tend to think of Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man, autism has a spectrum. And now more is being done to help those affected.
On Tuesday, in honor of Autism Awareness month and two new bills passed in Texas, lawmakers, families and activists rendezvoused in Austin.
“This is a really big deal. We have thousands of families in Texas that have autism,” says Suzanne Potts, with the Autism Society of Greater Austin.
One of the bills passed in the last session requires that insurance companies cover the cost of screening in babies between 18 months and three years old. The other requires state insurers to cover treatment until age 18, instead of 10.
Representative Ron Simmons, Vice Chairman of the National Autism Society of America, says early diagnosis and proper treatment can make the world of a difference.
“Up to 87%, if caught early treated well, can become productive members of society,” he says.
According to Simmons, Texas has nearly 500,000 residents living with some form of autism spectrum disorder.