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Parents Struggle to Get Autism Treatment

The two Chinese girls that Debbie and Jeff Allspach adopted weren't biologically related. So it was all the more surprising -- and devastating -- when the  Gulf Coast couple heard the diagnosis of autism for both girls.

The early days were rough, as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, because the family lives in Englewood, an area that lacked specialists in Applied Behavioral Analysis. But now they have services from a Bradenton company, about an hour away, and have found schools that can accommodate their children's special needs.

ABA's high costs and dearth of specialists have forced parents to go to great lengths to find and pay for the treatment, writes reporter Donna Koehn,even though state law requires insurers to cover it. Often, Medicaid denies coverage for the treatment, leading to lawsuits.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.