Monday, June 20, 2011

State Government Shutdown = Disaster

I don't get that involved in politics, mainly because I don't feel confident that I really understand everything that is going on. I pay attention and try to learn, though.

Minnesota is currently preparing for a potential partial state government shutdown.  There are about three items the governor and legislators cannot agree on, and if they don't find some kind of compromise by the end of June, only government works and programs deemed "essential" will still be functioning.  (Legislators will of course continue to get paid.)  I watched the news but assumed, naively, that it wouldn't affect me much. This week I found out I was wrong.

You know the boys have been receiving ABA therapy for about 3 years now.  When we started, they were 3-year-olds who behaved more like 1-year-olds, with virtually no communication or play or social skills whatsoever. Now they are both talking up a storm, saying new words and even phrases every day, and they actually have activities they enjoy that don't involved the TV.  They tell jokes (they'll smile at you and say "Hi, I'm Dora!") and AJ even sings a little bit (I'm working on getting a good video of that, it's so cute!)

Anyway, due to our sons' disabilities we apply for every year and receive TEFRA (MA), which is medical assistance for Minnesota families who have too much income to qualify for other Minnesota Health Care programs (which is pretty much anybody who has a job). It helps to cover things our insurance does not, and helps with the multiple co-pays we have (for example, every single therapy session would be a $20 copay - that's 4 therapy sessions a day).

I found out this past week that the company that provides our ABA therapy is not sure whether the state workers who coordinate the disbursement of MA will be considered "essential." Which means they may not get paid, and in turn, our daily therapy sessions could end abruptly, Friday of next week.

I don't need to tell you what this would do to our routine and sense of normalcy. Breaks in our routine cause anxiety which leads to aggression and meltdowns. When just one or two therapy sessions a week are cancelled for whatever reason, the boys notice and are affected. To have all therapy come to a screeching halt could be devastating.

For another thing, I would hate to see them regress back to the screaming, hyperactive, obsessive, entirely helpless boys they were before we started ABA. I will work hard with them to retain the skills they've learned. But I'm no therapist.

Looks like I'll be emailing and/or calling my two representatives today.  If the shutdown happens, with some of our spare time we might have to go for a walk up around the Capitol and see if we can get in the building.  Maybe Zack can scream at them a little.

1 comment:

The Slacker Mom said...

So far the only way we'll be affected is that our TEFRA app was just submitted. We haven't started any extra therapies outside of school and really can't afford to do so until we get TEFRA. thankfully the people at Arc got everything in for us and we won't have to worry that it won't get a submission date on it and have to start at square one. I hope a shut down can be avoided though.

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