The State of Autism in the State of Georgia

Surely by now you’ve heard the prevalence rates of autism; one in 68 children, one in 54 boys. These numbers are based on a study from 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control. Almost everyone you know, knows someone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

So, while the general public seems well aware of the prevalence of autism, I’ve been surprised to find that many people I come in contact with aren’t aware that effective treatment for autism even exists.

One of the most effective treatments available is known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA has been endorsed as an effective treatment for ASD by the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health as well as a number of other state and federal agencies. In a nutshell; ABA is research base individualized treatment. The efficacy of this method of treatment is supported by over 25 years of research. Its application involves one to one instruction in programs based on the functions of behavior.

The research shows that children with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis can benefit tremendously from ABA services, especially those who are diagnosed early and receive 25 to 30 hours of ABA per week. In many cases, children who receive early intervention are able to enter kindergarten and/or first grade in a mainstream classroom with no additional assistance needed!

So, we have this treatment, it is proven effective, why aren’t parents aware that it exists and why aren’t children receiving the service? The simple answer: is it’s not covered by their insurance provider!

Why on earth would health insurance companies deny coverage for an effective treatment for a disorder of such magnitude? Another simple answer: they’re not required to.

Although 38 out of the 50 states in the United States of America mandate coverage for autism, the state of Georgia does not. There have been many organized efforts to pass laws that would mandate coverage, but not one has made it through both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Governor of Georgia has said that he will sign a bill if it makes it to him. Last year, Senate passed a bill that would mandate some coverage for individuals up to age six, a big step in the right direction. However, in the House of Representatives, the bill did not get called for a vote. There is a resistance to enacting mandates when it comes to insurance reform. This is understandable, as insurance companies cannot be expected to cover everything under the sun. However, when one considers that the average cost of services required over the lifetime of an individual with untreated ASD is over $3 million dollars, compared to the average cost of early intervention services for for individuals with ASD…the savings is drastic. In its second year of implementation, South Carolina’s law mandated coverage for 371,384 individuals for $856, 369.

On January 29th, 2015 the Georgia Senate voted to pass SB1: Ava’s Law. It is now up to the House of Representatives to not only support the passing of this law, but to ask the speaker to call it to a vote.

Here’s where we come in! We as the parents, friends, and family members of the autism community have to do our part by communicating to our Representatives. Time is of the essence, we are hoping for a house hearing any day now! A good starting place can be found here:
Attach the following document to your email to provide your representative with the most important facts:


For more information on Ava’s law please visit the facebook page at:

Together, we can make a difference.  Our 1 in 68 most certainly can’t wait.