They found some paper cups in their garage and popped open a bottle of champagne. The impromptu party capped off a nearly 14-year effort by the founders of
"It is so surreal. I just can't believe it. When you fight for something for just under 14 years, you just don't know if it's going to happen. And I'm just so happy that it has,"
The coverage will take effect
'A big step forward'
The decision by the state's largest private employer to include this therapy in its insurance coverage is being welcomed by advocates for people with autism.
"It's obviously a pretty big step forward for Mayo to do that, and I think that's the right choice," Sailor said.
His center provides intensive autism therapy for children ages 1 to 13. The one-on-one therapy is tailored to meet the needs of each individual child. In some cases, it can require as much as 30 to 40 hours per week. While the therapy doesn't work for every child, he said research has shown it can make a big difference in the lives of children with autism.
"It's a great step forward for (
A man on a mission
"Even though the Mayo doctor said this is exactly what your son needs, the Mayo insurance side said, "Nope, we're not covering it,'"
"It just got to be too much. We had to decide. Are we going to keep a house over our head and food on the table or stop this therapy? And we had to stop it,"
But he wasn't about to give up on his fight to get insurers to cover the therapy. In 2013, he teamed up with two
"The bottom line is, as related to autism and this portion of it, they were failing," Trahan said.
'The right thing to do'
Norton said she repeatedly reached out to Mayo officials and asked them to begin covering the therapy. She is ecstatic about the clinic's decision to make sure this therapy is available to its employees' children.
"I'm thrilled that all those families and future families that have
Senjem also heralded Mayo's decision.
"We've come to understand and accept and realize that early treatment of autistic kids can go a long way toward changing their lives and giving them a larger role in society," Senjem said.
First District DFL Rep.
"Brad has always been a tireless advocate on the issue of autism, both as a policy expert and as a father. This is the right thing to do, and I thank Mayo for doing right by its employees and their families on this issue," Walz said in a statement.
He added, "I'm very thankful to
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