Support Behavior Analysts, HB20-1058

We’d like to direct your attention to HB20-1058

Behavior Analysts In Public Schools

As any parent with a child on the autism spectrum will eagerly share with you, our special education students need more support. The education staff will tell you the same. The district share of Special Education funding is approximately 62%, Colorado’s is 21%, and the federal government is 17%. About 89,600 of Colorado’s 889,000 students received special education services, that’s approximately 10% of our students. Support Jeffco Kids supports this bill and we hope you will write your legislators and ask them to support this.

We’d like to share this from a mom of a student receiving ABA who also happens to be an educator.

My son was the first CCSD student to get ABA in school. It has been absolutely life changing for us. He has always had an amazing academic ability, however, we know are much more confident of his ability to attend college as he has had substantial growth in social -emotional, executive function, and collaborative skills. My hope is that every parent has the ability to get ABA for their child, in an authentic environment. Currently, there are only a few families in Jeffco, Denver, and CCSD that receive this.

The law requires that health insurance provide ABA, as it is considered the only highly effective treatment for autism. It is an intensive treatment, to be effective, ABA therapy must be done for 24-40 hours per week for 1-3 years. Many families are authorized for this through their health insurance, but cannot actually utilize this therapy because it must be scheduled outside of school hours. It is impossible to schedule 24-40 hours of therapy each week outside of the school day. It forces families to choose between education and their medically necessary benefit, which is a choice that families should not have to make. I would like EVERY child to be able to get these services, without the school becoming financially responsible (which is what happened in our case.)

  1. This bill will allow parents to access ABA therapy, a medical benefit, paid for by their insurance to support their child’s social and emotional needs without the district incurring responsibility for the cost associated because of a FAPE obligation.
  2. There is a liability clause that protects schools. All behavioral therapists would have to pass same requirements as other district employees and the therapist are insured.
  3. Students will receive medically necessary behavior treatment in an authentic setting, public school. This is already happening in other states.
  4. Schools prepare students academically for college and the job field. ABA, however, is the only medically proven intervention to support students who are Autistic become more “College and Career Ready” with their behavior (executive functioning, collaboration, social skills, emotional regulation). When we work together, amazing things can happen.
  5. It does not discriminate based on socioeconomic status or race. Private insurance AND Medicaid patients are included in this bill.
  6. Teachers will have Board Certified Behavior support in their classrooms as opposed to TAs who the district would have to train or who are unqualified to meet the needs of certain students.
  7. There is a conflict resolution procedure included in the bill to ensure a classroom teacher and behavioral therapist are on the same page.

 

This Bill is scheduled in House Education on February 6th at 1:30pm. Write your legislator and/or testify in support!