Families plea to governor for autism treatment bill

September 30, 2011 8:06:41 PM PDT
Bay Area families with autistic children made an emotional plea to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill that would expand their insurance coverage. Tearful parents spoke at a rally in Berkeley about having to care for autistic children. The bill, authorized by State Senate President Darrell Steinberg would require private insurers to cover behavioral treatment for people with autism. The therapy teaches autistic kids crucial skills. "It teaches them how to connect with people," said Karen Fessel with the Autism Health Insurance Project. "How to look them in the eye. Basic communication skills, and it walks them through one interaction at a time." Other states have similar laws. On Friday, President Obama signed a bill into law that reauthorizes funding for several autism programs to help with screening intervention and education.