Autism the subject on Capitol Hill Wednesday - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/5/09

Autism the subject on Capitol Hill Wednesday

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By Cassie Hataway | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The US Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday heard pleas for more money for autism research and not just from health experts, but from many families who complain that it's not covered by health insurance.

One polarizing topic on Wednesday's agenda is the issue over whether vaccines cause or contribute to autism.  The director of the NIH cited 16 studies involving hundreds of thousands of children, none found any evidence linking the two. "In Virginia, the average income, which unfortunately is still rather modest, is about 40, 50 thousand dollars.  And the average cost of services is about $85,000.  These families have to do without.  They have to do without," says David Miller, the father of two autistic sons. 

Wednesday's testimony also touched on current treatments such as intensive behavioral therapy, which doctors say can be effective if done early, but again it's not usually covered by insurance.  The lack of any definitive cause gives many parents pause before they allow their children to be vaccinated.  Doctors say this often leads to disconnect between parents and pediatricians.  All agreed more research and more money is needed to help parents and doctors treat kids effectively and wade through conflicting information.

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