Autism bill gaining momentum, local organization stands behind it

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Alabama Autism bill, HB 284, passed a House committee vote on Wednesday. However, it still has to pass a full House of Representatives vote.

Amy Summers is a board certified behavior analyst for The Riley Center. She wants the community, and the state as a whole, to rally behind kids on the autism spectrum.

“There’s a lot of momentum getting behind them, and so April is a great month to pass a bill for our children with autism and their families,” she said.

Thanks to April and Autism Awareness Month, Summers thinks it’s helping to build support for HB 284.

“It’s not just awareness but acceptance. Accepting that these are children with incredible potential, and they add great value to our community, and to our state,” said Summers.

She wants Alabama to get on board and be known as an autism friendly state. This bill will help do that. She hopes lawmakers understand its importance.

“Understand that it’s their responsibility as a state representative to support all children,” she said.

The cost of the evidence based autism therapies the bill would cover is a huge burden on families right now. But, they are so important.

“It makes the difference between their ability to have a job, and learn vocational skills. It makes a difference in these families lives,” said Summers.

The bill still has to go to a full House of Representatives vote. But Summers said this is a great time for them to pass some strong legislation.

“We’re encouraged that it’s a new day, and that the legislators are going to be able to take hold of this opportunity to start off a new term in a positive light,” she said.

Alabama is one of only five state that doesn’t mandate insurance for autism therapy.