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Parents Win Insurance Fight For Autistic Son

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Hayden Neuman is talking, laughing and being a 7 year old.
It’s far from where he was more than three years ago.

“He was literally speechless,” says his mother Melissa Neuman from Fort Worth “He didn’t have sound almost a mute child is what it felt like.”

Hayden is autistic and has been going to the Child Study Center in Fort Worth for several years now for treatment. The family moved cross country so that he could get this specialized treatment.

“He went from being non-responsive, non-emotional, non-social to last night he ran up to me hit me on the back and wanted me to chase him,” says his father Garrett Neuman “It’s like I’ve got my little boy back.”

The Neuman’s credit Hayden’s progress to a therapy known as Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA.
It’s the most widely used behavioral intervention used to treat autism.

“If we didn’t have the one on one 3 times a week for the last three and half years it’s a scary thought to think where we would still be,” says Melissa.

Insurance companies were hesitant to cover ABA because some did not consider it a medical treatment. Today, they see it differently.

Recently the nation’s largest employer, U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced that ABA is a medical therapy that qualifies for health insurance coverage instead of educational service. The OPM involves health insurance coverage provided to federal employees.

“It really had to become more mainstream,” says Dr. Joyce Mauk President, CEO and Medical Director of Child Study Center in Fort Worth. The Child Study Center treats children with autism.

“I think the insurance companies are going to be treating Applied Behavior Analysis the same way we treat rehabilitative therapy for a variety of other brain related issues,” explains Dr. Mauk “If we had a child who had an acquired brain injury we would prescribe therapies known to be effective and we would continue them as long as they were effective and when they weren’t we would change to another mode and I think that’s the route Applied Behavior Analysis will be going as well.”

The Neuman’s struggled with their insurance company for years. Now Hayden’s therapy is covered and his parents aren’t fighting their insurance company every day. Instead, they’re focusing on their son who has reached big milestones.

“We try to celebrate when he has any kind of a small victory,” says Melissa smiling big “We are really in a great spot right now.”

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