Sunday, June 19, 2011

At a Crossroad of Some Sort

These big decisions are never easy. The really BIG one we have been contemplating the last few weeks is where to move after I retire? This has almost been discussed at some points every day. Where do we want to go?? This question was easier to answer until I found out that Nick will no longer get his ABA covered by TriCare when I retire. He is covered right now under the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO), but that benefit is not extended to retirees. So that information threw off our whole plan, and we have had to come up with a newer plan. We looked up states that required health insurers to cover autism treatments. (Washington was not one of those states) Reading through all the legal/medical terms got to be quite depressing. Most of those inferred that through loop holes, companies could deny you coverage. They placed catastrophic caps on dollar amounts, or individuals had to be a certain age etc. So, what did I do? I posed a question on one of my autism bulletin boards that I am a member of.

If you could, where would you choose to live? Two states seemed to come up the most often. One of those was a state that we had not even considered. PENNSYLVANIA. It seems that state is one of the best for autism services and coverage. I got in touch with someone who currently lives in PA and she confirmed what they were saying is true. We started looking more intensely at other things like housing, schools, and yes, we had to look at hockey. All items there were good. I started looking at jobs on line and found a bunch of jobs are available with the VA. So, why am I still so conflicted??

Our families reside in the South East. Not the North East. It would be awesome to have family near us to help out. But how much would that cost Nick? He is my family too. I have also seen the effects of a school that just does not 'get it'. It was horrible. He was left to stare out windows all day simply because it was 'easier'. I don't want that to happen again. He lost an entire year at that hell hole.

So, I will pose the question now to all out there in Blog Land with kids on the spectrum.

If you had your pick, where would you live?


Emma said...

Hi. It is a tough call. I live in New Jersey and I have a 6 year old on the lower end of the spectrum. My health insurance WILL cover some therapies but I get all his services covered through the school district. New Jersey (north jersey) has very good autism programs. Sam goes to an ABA based school with an extended school year. In addition he currently gets 4 hours a week of therapy at home. This is being increased to 8 hours a week in the next few weeks. These extra hours are year-round. Even with insurance coverage, I would still have to pay a portion of each session and that would be too expensive.

The drawback is that the cost of living around here is very high.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions

Emma said...

We live in Bergen COunty (north jersey). There are a lot of school out here designed especially for autistic kids. The therapist from the book Let Me Hear Your Voice started her school out here (The Alpine Learning Group)and the public schools have created their own versions to save money. The teachers and aides are all trained in ABA and most of the kids are in a 1:1 ration in the classroom while they are young. You can push your school district to add a home program to his IEP.

Where ever you go I suggest you start to document his behavior through anectdotal records and short video clips. That way, when they tell you they need "data" to justify a home program, you have material ready. When I told my school district I have video clips of Sam's dangerous throwing behaviors they didn't even watch them, they upped his home hours at our next meeting.

the home prices and the taxes out here are ridiculous but we aren't leaving any time soon because of the services Sam gets. Some towns are better than others but over all this area is pretty good.