World Autism Day kicks off month of raising awareness

Lt. Governor Brian Calley talks about how Michigan is working on helping children and adults with autism.
World Autism day kicks off a month of raising awareness and when we look at our state,  we have made great progress, but there's more work to be done. 

In 2012 Michigan's Autism Insurance Reform was signed into law, which forced insurance companies to cover treatment for children on the autism spectrum.

Now three years later, Lt. Governor Brian Calley - who has an 8 year daughter with autism, says, we need more therapists.

"We only had a couple of dozen before that were working with kids with autism," Calley said. "And now we have over 200 board-certified behavior analysts that are out there providing applied behavior analysis for people with autism. 

"We have a long way to go, but we've come a long way. I think it's okay to celebrate that, and use that momentum."

That's why Gov. Rick Snyder is giving Michigan State, Eastern and Western universities $3 million to fund autism training programs, 

Another hurdle is that unemployment among adults with autism is as high as 90 percent.

"I worry sometimes that when we put a label on somebody, with that label comes a whole bunch of baggage and expectations about what some people can and can't do.

"Justice (Richard) Bernstein and I are out on the Michigan 'Hidden Talent Tour' and it's all about communicating with employers about the merits of giving somebody with a disability - especially autism, a chance at a job, at a career. 

"They have so much to offer, so much heart, so much talent. It would really lift up the workplace when we have a more inclusive environment in our business community."

Here is a list of resources for families dealing with autism:

http://autismallianceofmichigan.org/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/

http://www.easterseals.com/

https://www.autism-mi.org/AboutASM.aspx


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