Meet Michelle Scott-Lewing – a mom of two autistic children who has made it her mission to connect families affected by Autism in Nevada to crucial services. She answers every call she receives from parents of children with Autism, a developmental condition impacting 1 in 36 8-year-olds in the year 2023, as reported by the CDC. Scott-Lewing is the executive director of the Autism Coalition of Nevada, otherwise known as ACON.
ACON is an exceptional coalition that is composed of a select group of devoted volunteers numbering less than twelve individuals. These dedicated members work ceaselessly to offer invaluable aid and direction to families who are impacted by Autism. The primary goal of this remarkable organization is to identify the various resources available and effectively assist autistic families in utilizing them. Additionally, ACON plays an integral role in advocating for early diagnosis, providing therapeutic interventions, and aiding in procuring essential treatment and support services, including medical care.
The bill 411 Impact
More than 8,500 individuals affected by Autism have received crucial assistance from ACON, and this number is just the beginning. With the recent passing of two new laws by Gov. Joe Lombardo, the organization is preparing for an even more significant increase in individuals seeking their aid in the future. The bill 411 from the Senate has been passed to create a historic program that allows family courts to implement diversion programs for children who have been diagnosed with or are suspected to be on the spectrum and are facing juvenile delinquency charges. Many of the children in this juvenile situation have never received a formal evaluation or had access to effective therapies that could greatly benefit them. And therefore, Bill 411 provides a much-needed opportunity for these children to receive the necessary support.
Another Bill that received strong support from ACON is Senate Bill 191, which was unanimously passed and now requires Medicare to cover the costs of behavior analysts, assistant behavior analysts, and registered behavior technicians for patients with Autism until the age of 27. This is a significant improvement from the previous coverage which only extended until the age of 22.
Objective of the legislation
In an exclusive interview with Senator Heidi Seevers-Gansert, she revealed that the main objective of the legislation was to guarantee lifelong access to vital services for individuals with Autism. However, faced with financial limitations, a more practical approach had to be taken. The resultant bill (Bill 191) seeks to enhance coverage for behavior analysts and technicians by mirroring the benefits available for children under their parent’s insurance.
As ACON continues to advocate for improved services for individuals with Autism, there are also numerous organizations in the state of Nevada dedicated to providing resources and assistance to those on the spectrum. Nevada Autism Center, for example, offers quality ABA therapy for individuals with Autism. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive community for those affected by Autism, providing individualized treatment plans and promoting awareness and acceptance across the state.