Families struggle to pay for Austism therapy as legislators weigh bill

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ATTALLA, Ala. (WIAT) — “They know that there is something out there that can help them and it’s up to these senators whether or not our children get that help,” said Brittany Cumby, the mother of an Autistic son.

Time is running out for Alabama’s special session, as parents across the state are pushing lawmakers to pass the Autism bill.

The measure requires insurance companies to cover Autism therapy the senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, but some legislators said passing it could cause other issues for health insurance statewide.

Thanks to help of family and friends, Cumby was finally able to get therapy for her four year old autistic son Canaan, who had not been able to speak since he was born, but for many other families therapy is not an affordable option.

For four year old Canaan, a child of few words because of Autism, but recently he had begun therapy to help him say something.

“Within three weeks he has already said mama and bubba for the first time since his regression,” Cumby said.

Canaan is on the low end of the spectrum, but his speech and instincts made things hard for his mom who just wanted to hear her son say mama, “and I have a younger son and he’s one and he says it all the time, but to have Canaan say it was the most amazing thing because I just never knew if I’d ever hear it,” Cumby said.

But don’t be fooled, although he said few words he has quite the personality, just don’t come between him and his blueberries, recently he started Autism therapy.

“His therapist comes to our home and she just works with him for an hour at a time, but because of the price, we don’t get as much as we need because no one can really afford that,” Cumby said.

For the Cumby family they paid $40 dollars an hour for therapy – other prices get as high as $120 dollars an hour, which come out of family’s pockets because their insurance don’t cover it.

“Most of the time they want us to have it 10 hrs a week, so if you add that up it’s pretty steep, right now we are only able to do three hours a week of it and with that bill if we were to get insurance covering that – if three hours a week has already gotten two words out of him, there’s no telling what 10 hours a week would do,” Cumby said.

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