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New autsim learning center opens to teach life lessons to students

(Source: WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) –

At Glenwood, Inc. inside the Alan Cott School, you’ll find a brand new life skills training center for children with autism spectrum disorder.

It’s a place where students can practice basic skills needed to function in life. It has a kitchen, laundry room, bedroom, and bathroom.

The training center is built in memory of Shirley G. Seay. She played a critical role in improving the quality of life of children and families impacted by A-S-D. Her sister Peggy says she would be proud of this center. In the 1970s, Seay co-founded the Allan Cott School.

"Children can learn early how to live independently and if they can do that, it gives them a real sense of pride in what they’re doing. It builds their self-confidence,” Peggy Balliet said.

This type of training falls into Applied Behavior Analysis. Right now, countless families in Alabama are fighting to pass an autism bill that would allow ABA to be covered by insurance and Medicaid.

"They should have the same ability to be able to go and get access to a treatment that we know is effective. That we know is going to help them become more independent to learn more skills…and really to just make progress,” Paul Agostini, Director of ABA Services at Glenwood, Inc.

Alabama is one of only a handful of states to not mandate health coverage for specialized behavioral therapy. Agostini says lawmakers need to do what’s right and pass the bill.

"Do you want to be on the right side where you voted for it? Or do you want to be seen as holding us back…holding up progress for the state of Alabama?” Agostini added.

Opponents say insurance rates and premiums would go up as a result of the autism bill passing.

It will go before a senate committee Wednesday It’s a time crunch, though because there are only a few days left in the legislative session.

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