According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 children in the United States have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many of those children are living in Magee, Simpson County, and other parts of Mississippi, which has a rate of mental illness and learning disabilities that are higher than most other states.
As this specific neurodevelopmental disorder gains more awareness, places like Mississippi, where this condition is impacting children at an aggressive rate, are beginning to make changes to help support the need for accessible treatment and therapy required for this condition.
For starters, a new law in Mississippi is slated to help begin making necessary changes for families with children who grapple with autism. House Bill 885, which was just signed by Governor Phil Bryant, will become a law that ensures that the state will provide licensure for applied behavior analysts, who are individuals capable of helping provide services to autistic children. In addition, the bill will also make insurance policies within Mississippi cover the diagnosis, screening, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder at the beginning of 2017.
This will be extremely helpful for families within the area, as many families have been unable to afford hundreds to thousands of dollars in bills that have piled up because they are paying out of pocket for their children’s care.
In addition, the University of Southern Mississippi has developed a new Master’s degree program where students can obtain a license in applied behavior analysis, which will allow them to go right to work in the state for those children who need treatment for autism spectrum disorder. Those who work in applied behavior analysis are experienced in helping children solve social problems that develop as a result of their condition.
This new program is being welcomed with open arms, as it is reported that 11,000 children within Mississippi, including many in Magee and other parts of Simpson County, grapple with autism and there are only about 40 professionals who are licensed to treat them.
As a result of House Bill 885 and the new Master’s program at the University of Southern Mississippi, the lives of children within Mississippi are bound to start getting better as treatment will become more affordable and more individuals will be properly trained in providing that treatment.
If you are a concerned parent who is unsure if your child is struggling with autism, and you are looking for help in Simpson County, reach out to us at Millcreek of Magee for help. We are here to help you, your child, and the rest of your family get started on the road to balanced wellness.