New bill helps families with autistic children - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New bill helps families with autistic children

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Kalea Simpson said both of her sons have been diagnosed with autism. Her son Devon is 9 and Kaleb is 12. Kalea Simpson said both of her sons have been diagnosed with autism. Her son Devon is 9 and Kaleb is 12.
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

East Texas families with autistic children tell us a financial burden that comes with their child's tenth birthday has now been lifted, thanks to a new state law. Under the old law, once an autistic child turned 10, their insurance coverage stopped for special services to help them adapt and cope in life.

Kalea Simpson said both of her sons have been diagnosed with autism. Her son Devon is 9 and Kaleb is 12.

Senate Bill 1484, which went into effect this month, has eliminated the age 10 cap on benefits under the state's existing autism insurance reform law.

It is something the East Texas mother is thrilled about.

"Kaleb could not get services because of his age. That was disheartening for me because I know of a certain therapy that he needs that would help him, but we couldn't afford it nor could we get our insurance to help us with it," Simpson said. "So, to hear this opened up a wealth for therapy services for not only Devon, but for Kaleb as well."

Doctor Wilson Renfroe is a psychologist and father of an autistic son who said the more help families of autistic children can receive, the better.

"I'm glad that Texas is stepping up to the plate. We haven't been known particularly as being leaders in this area, in our legislation and in some of our forward thinking as compared to some of the other parts of the country, but I'm glad that whatever we are doing it's a good thing," Renfroe said.

Renfroe said while it is important for autistic children to receive therapy and treatment as soon as they are diagnosed, many times that treatment needs to continue into teenage and adult years

"That's an understanding that autism is a life-long diagnosis," Renfroe said. "It changes overtime as people grow and develop and they do mature in their own ways and differently than in neurotypical or "normal" child or young adult."

These parents said with extended coverage now guaranteed, Texas is moving in the right direction.

If you would like to see a copy of this new bill, click here.

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