Our mission is to provide community support to families living in the Teton Valley Idaho and Western Wyoming areas that have children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the form of education and funding for therapy not covered by insurance. Through our mission we aim to help enhance the lives of children as well as their families.
One Voice is founded upon the belief that every child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder should receive his or her physician recommended therapy, despite a possible lack of insurance coverage.
Our goal is to help enrich Teton County communities by advocating Autism Awareness and by offering financial support to those diagnosed with ASD.
Our son was a mere 19 months old when he was diagnosed with ASD. His diagnosis came just weeks after my husband and I had moved our little family to Teton Valley. As newcomers to Teton Valley, we knew little of the financial limitations that are inherent in the health insurance representatives of the area. We assumed that our son would be able to receive the care he required, and furthermore we expected our health insurance to pick up the tab. It was with no small measure of disappointment that we would learn that the reality of our situation was contrary to our presumptions.
Upon confirming our son’s diagnosis, a pediatric neurologist from Washington recommended our son begin a specific form of therapy known as Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. We had never heard of ABA therapy; but unless you have either a loved one on the spectrum, or you are in the therapeutic field yourself, it is likely that you would be unaware of the various therapies that are used to treat Autism. We were certainly unaware, but taking our neurologist’s recommendation into consideration, we began doing our homework immediately.
It was at this point that we soon discovered three important things: one, ABA therapy is a leading form of treatment for Autism and has been demonstrably proven to be effective; two, there are very little ABA resources in this area; and three, our private insurance denies coverage for this therapy, as it is somehow deemed as “experimental.”
Knowing that paying for this therapy ourselves was virtually impossible, we scoured for resources, contacting every known therapeutic service and community health resource in both Idaho and Wyoming. Also, we drafted an extensive, well-researched appeal letter to our private insurance, citing numerous studies that validated ABA therapy. But again our claim was denied, and it was clear there was nothing we, as paying members, could do. Meanwhile, our son’s condition continued to go untreated.
It is difficult to articulate the frustration and hopelessness my husband and I oftentimes felt… As former residents of Washington, a state with superb health insurance, it was difficult for us to accept the fact that a private health insurance company would deny coverage for our son’s therapy, especially when the therapy was recommended by our son’s neurologist and pediatrician.
So, what next? We had come to an impasse. But just as things had become bleak, we were given the name of Brad Dickey, the only Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) in Jackson who was offering ABA therapy in our area. With Brad’s help, we learned about a national support program that aids families with young disabled children. We contacted the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and were provided hope that our son’s enrollment in the Infant Toddler program, and subsequently the Family Directed Services Program, would eventually lead to some insurance coverage. In the end, after many hours of paperwork and numerous phone calls, we were able to secure a large portion of the funding needed to support his therapeutic needs.
Any measure of hope in a situation such as ours was a gift and something to be thankful for. Yet, we know there are families like our own, parents who need assistance for their child, and it is with this knowledge in mind that we have founded One Voice for Autism Awareness, Inc. We know from experience the daunting task of caring for an autistic child; and we also know that support from the immediate community can be an incredible help. Our hope with this non-profit venture is to bring about a strong support system for other families in our community and to alleviate some of the financial pressure that is associated with the treatment of Autism.
One Voice is dedicated to raising funds for any child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder who has been recommended a therapy or therapeutic equipment proven to be an effective treatment of Autism. Neither race, religion, orientation, financial status, nor any other discriminating factors will be considered in the disbursement of funds. Funds and services, including therapy hours, are allotted equally among the approved applicants.
In order for your child to become an approved applicant, contact us today for an application. We do ask that families have sufficient documentation to be attached to their applications, including but not limited to: insurance denial of service, doctor referrals, and research validating the requested service or equipment.
Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, or phone (307) 264-0111 if you would like to discuss applying.
Michelle Beitinger – Executive Director
Brad Dickey, BCBA – Board Member
Jacob Beitinger – Board Member
Mandy Rockefeller – Board Member