Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

James’ journey: From autism diagnosis to mainstream class
Autism » Utah lawmakers debate how to extend insurance coverage to more children with autism.
First Published Feb 27 2014 01:02 pm • Last Updated Mar 03 2014 09:25 am

Hearing her son James diagnosed with classical autism when he was about 2 years old changed Angie Watterson’s life.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It started six months of me trying to get him on every waiting list I could get him on for therapy," the Tooele County mother said. "Our insurance wouldn’t cover anything."

Her family drained savings to pay for about nine months of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, then ran out of money and had to quit.

"Trying to get him into an affordable therapy program, especially one that didn’t have a year waiting list, was next to impossible," she said.

But the Stansbury Park boy became one of about 300 Utah children selected in a lottery to receive free autism behavioral therapy through Medicaid. His progress, Watterson said, has been incredible.


story continues below
story continues below

Early fears that the treatment pilot program was designed to fail, based on its low pay, were eased when the Utah Department of Health agreed to reimburse therapists more. While the program has, by all measures, has been a success, it will expire in June if Utah lawmakers don’t pass HB88, a bill to permanently extend it.

Watterson prays they do. She also wants lawmakers to mandate insurance coverage of the expensive ABA therapy.

"I don’t want James to be normal. We love him. My goal is to help him reach his potential," said Watterson. "Autistic kids absolutely have the ability to do amazing things. They have to be given the tools."

Watch for additional weekend coverage at www.sltrib.com and in the print edition of The Salt Lake Tribune about the success of the lottery programs, and the debate in the Utah Legislature now about how to get insurance coverage for therapy for more kids with autism.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.