In 2009, New Jersey enacted a law guaranteeing insurance coverage for autism treatment.

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Many diagnoses on the spectrum have not been covered according to Assemblywoman Donna Simon and that's why she's introduced a bill to give families with autistic children a clearer path toward treatment. Today is World Autism Day.

"Although New Jersey was one of the first states to require coverage for autism treatment, many diagnoses on the spectrum have not been covered," says Simon. "This has caused financial and emotional nightmares for parents, whose lives become consumed by fighting for coverage for their children."

It is estimated that one out of every 49 children are affected by autism in New Jersey. Some experts say the rate is so high in the Garden State because New Jersey is better than many states at detecting and reporting the cases of autism.

"We must do better for New Jersey families who have been touched by autism by enforcing the intent of the existing law and covering the entire autism spectrum," insists Simon.

Autism is defined under the bill to include all diagnoses on the autism spectrum such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. It will also ensure coverage for speech, occupational, behavioral and physical therapies and autism-related disorders including central auditory processing disorder, childhood apraxia, sensory integration disorder and social communication disorder.

"All children within the spectrum deserve access to treatment and I look forward to working on this issue with autism experts, healthcare professionals, families, advocates and insurance professionals," explains Simon. "With autism affecting so many New Jersey families, I anticipate bipartisan support on this issue."

A long-time advocate for special needs children and their families, Simon recently sponsored bipartisan legislation recently signed by Governor Chris Christie to create a Special Education Task Force to improve the funding, delivery and effectiveness of programs and services in New Jersey.