Family Shares Embarrassing Perm Photos To Help Autistic Son

When you go to the doctor, you want the latest, greatest treatment. If you have decent insurance, you expect them to cover something that's at least pretty good.

So you can imagine this mom's shock when her insurer told her that the only treatment options for her son, who has autism — treatments that had worked for him in the past — would not be covered based on scientific opinions popular in the 1970s.


Lots of children with autism benefit from applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. For some, it's the only treatment that works. But many insurers don't cover it, citing research from an era before personal computers. Or Justin Timberlake. Or disposable contact lenses.

ABA, this miracle therapy, is crazy expensive. It can cost up to $50,000 per year. (But don't let sticker shock freak you out, retronauts — DollarTimes tells us that's only $8,088.43 in 1970's dollars.)

(Apparently smocking was a thing in the '70s.)

I learned about this because of a kid named Martin. Martin is a nice kid. He re-creates OK Go videos in Lego and could tell you everything you never wanted to know about every single U.S. president. He just has a bit of trouble with social situations. Sometimes more than a bit.

When he was 4, he did some intensive ABA therapy. It taught him how to talk. It taught him how to use the toilet. It helped him do all sorts of everyday things, from putting on clothes to trick-or-treating.

Years later, he needs some more intensive treatment. Social stuff is getting more complicated as he heads toward the hormonal toxic waste dump that is middle school. In his frustration, Martin began to act out. He threw fits. He started hitting his teachers and family members. His parents decided to see if they could get him back into ABA. It worked a miracle before, and although it was once controversial, it's now accepted as best practice for many people with autism. Martin's parents are well-insured. They both work for the University of Texas at Austin.

But their insurance won't cover the therapy that worked for him in the past. Rather than trust recent studies that show ABA's effectiveness, the insurers doubt the science and reflect skeptical attitudes about ABA from the 1970s.

You remember the 1970s, right? Back when polyester was in, disco was hopping, and gas was leaded?

Martin's mom, Dr. Jennifer Graber, got super pissed off. She's been fighting for him for a long time now, and she has had enough.

The law in Texas actually requires insurers to cover ABA, but UT is exempt. The reasons are complicated, but that's how our insurance system goes. Loopholes and fine print everywhere.

And you know what? Your insurance very well might not cover ABA either. Many states don't require it. You might not find out what you don't have until you desperately need it. Or your friend does. Or your grandkid.

According to Autism Speaks, many states have tried to pass legislation to require insurers to cover ABA. But even within states, like Texas, that have passed reform legislation, loopholes allow large institutions to avoid coverage. There are also several states where efforts to pass reform measures have not succeeded and others in which no reform legislation has been brought forward. There are thousands of children with autism in the U.S. with no affordable access to ABA therapy.


It's time to exit the 1970s. Martin's mom has started a petition to hassle the folks at UT about their retrograde policies, as well as a hilarious/depressing/hilarious Facebook page where people are sharing their reasons the 1970s were, as decades go, suboptimal. You can add your own awkward '70s photos and sign their petition.

I'd like to propose a bigger action. Check out the law related to insurance coverage of autism in your state and if it stinks, write your representatives. You might not have a person with autism in your life right now, but statistically, it's only a matter of time before this hits home.

UPDATE:

Good news! After Dr. Graber's petition got a bunch of signatures, the University of Texas announced that it will begin covering ABA therapy for children with autism in fall 2015! But there are unfortunately still many children with different insurance who don't have access.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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